My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals. But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.
Oh, forgive me for not keeping this updated!! Almost-three-year-olds (Amongst other things!) keeps this mama busy!
Back to the verse...
God's love endures forever. Think about it. It endures. It stays the same. It doesn't get weary like we do; it doesn't faint or get tired. It doesn't start to complain when it doesn't get its way, or start to grumble.
It's determined to stay its course. It's not going anywhere, even if we're determined to run away from it or to hide our faces in shame when we do something incredibly stupid.
When we do sin, we must face the consequences of that sin, but we must do so while facing a loving, merciful and compassionate Father. Reprobates, on the other hand, face a wrathful, vengeful, and just God. God shows mercy on whom He shows mercy; He shows compassion on whom He shows compassion (He tells this to Moses and Paul emphasizes this in Romans 9.).
You see, people want to see the kind and loving God; they don't want to see the wrath and justice that He wisely and rightfully dishes out because we have sinned against Him. After all, we have committed what R.C. Sproul calls cosmic treason against the Creator of the universe.
Thankfully, those that He has chosen are washed clean by the blood of Christ. Just as He has chosen Abram (Abraham), then Isaac, then Jacob (Israel), then Judah, then David...all the way down to a peasant girl (Mary) and a carpenter (Joseph) to fulfill His will for His people.
To redeem His people once and for all. To cleanse them from the stench of sin forever. Simply because His love endures forever. In Romans 8:31-39, it speaks of God's everlasting love (To paraphrase: Nothing, save God Himself, above the earth, on the earth, or under the earth, can separate us from God's love in Jesus Christ. NOTHING. If you are redeemed by the blood of Christ, you are REDEEMED.).
God loves His people; He loves His people enough to turn His own Son over to die in our place!
Rejoice in that truth, especially on the Lord's Day tomorrow (on the Western Hemisphere, that is)!
On a personal note: I would like some prayer; I've been having some pain (That's been some of the reason for the lack of updates.); pray that I endure cheerfully and with a teachable spirit.
My active toddler is coming close to her third birthday; I praise God for His enduring mercies toward us and that He regenerates her heart and welcomes her as His!
Sorry for the late blog post; this week has been hectic (With a 2 1/2 year old, things will always be crazy; it's never a dull moment in my house.)! :D
Speaking of said 2 1/2 year old, she is an excellent reminder of two things for me: total depravity of man, and the joy that God grants us. On one hand, she is a depraved creature; she won't desire to touch God's righteousness or to seek after God (See Romans 3:10-18.); she desires what she thinks is right for her. It's my job as her mother to correct her when she's wrong, comfort her when she's in pain, and love her even if she's trying to be unlovable.
On the other hand, she makes me laugh when I'm in the foulest of moods; she's smart (A little too smart for her own good sometimes!); she's naturally a happy kid who is expressive and joyful. In that case, she's the closest thing to Godly joy that I'm able to observe apart from my walk with the Lord.
This week, I was also reminded of my grandmother, who died two weeks after Bee was born (Grandma's birthday is this Sunday; she would have been 80 this year.). While I was joyful with Bee's birth, I was mourning my grandmother's death at the same time; God was perfect in His timing in regards to both events. During that time of mourning, He clothed me in gladness.
I'm grateful that God provided joy in time of sadness; may I not be silent in praising His Name!
Even though we know that God protects us, we still beg God to spare us of certain atrocities and trials that come our way; either He chooses to allow those trials to come (To strengthen our faith and dependence on Him!) or to allow them to pass us by, since He doesn't give us more than what we can handle. We normally receive those trials, even though we don't want them.
Jesus didn't want to die, either, but He followed God's will anyway (He was also resurrected from the dead; for that we should be grateful that God considered us worth dying for!). May our Prophet, Priest, and King be praised!
This week is Holy Week for Christians; the climax being Resurrection Sunday ("Easter" for those wondering; I don't use the word.), when Jesus physically rose from the dead after suffering a brutal and painful death of crucifixion. He had the weight of His elect on Him, and the Father withdrew His presence from His begotten Son ("For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." - 2 Corinthians 5:21).
All of that for us that He has chosen from the foundation of the world.
That still boggles my mind, and I've been a Christian for 10 years!
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
I've always known that God had set things in motion; I've either suppressed the truth (see Romans 1:18) or embraced it, even though I may not understand it all. At this stage, I certainly don't understand God's will, but I know it's for my good and that He'll be glorified in it. There are times when I'll go "kicking and screaming", but I do realize my errors and confess them before Him.
I feel that, at times, I may say to myself that I'd never move, but I know it's foolish thinking; God has a way of changing my mind and changing my perspective on things. Regardless of what I do think, the Lord should be at the forefront of it and may He be praised in spite of what I have done, do now, and will do.
Joy comes with the morning, especially if weeping came with it the night before!
When we do sin, our hearts should grieve; after all, we do commit an offense before an amazing, awful, and awesome God (Who had claimed us as His children.). That alone should make us bend our knees and cry out before Him! Therefore, we should be thankful and sing praises to Him, since He saved us from our wretchedness.
The fact that His favor lasts for a lifetime is so sweet to a hardened heart; His anger may break the hard stone away, but it's His love that softens the heart of flesh.
Isn't it great to worship a God such as He?
I'm often amazed at how much my daughter grows; it seems, as if, she's growing right before my eyes! Today, she learned how to walk up the stairs unassisted (Saying, "Bye, Mommy! See ya later!" as she climbed up the stairs.); all I can do is sniffle and cheer at the same time.
This little milestone reminds me that, even if I do get angry over the things she does, she doesn't earn my favor because she does well; she gets my favor because she's my daughter.
Think about that when God disciplines you; He does it because He loves you, not because He despises you.
When things go right, we're willing to praise God for them; we see the sunshine and the tulips and happily hop, skip, and jump through them (It's a nice field of tulips; I'd be happy to scamper around as well and I'm in my 30s!). It's when the clouds come, the rain falls, and the storms hit that we tend to grumble and complain against the very same Creator that gives us these things to make those tulips grow and the sunshine to peek through.
It's something that I've recently learned: I grow best during the stormy trials that come my way; I learn to lean on God since He is much stronger than I ever could be and He is much more merciful to me during those times as well. Praise God for such experiences!
For instance, Bee has been enrolled in physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), and speech therapy (ST) every week for the past three months or so; since we started, we managed to cut back OT to every other week last month. Today, I was given the news that Bee can graduate from ST; tomorrow is her last day!
Speaking of Bee, she's currently enjoying Frank Sinatra (and tries to say his name and dance along to him singing). :)
God is so good!
We, as parents, teach our children; whether or not we're recognizant of it is a different story! Little children have this keen ability to parrot what a parent says; whether it's "Hi, Larry [the Cucumber from Veggie Tales]!" or something that shouldn't be uttered to begin with, the child will pick up on it.
Case in point: My daughter loves Veggie Tales (I don't blame her; I loved it as a teenager!) and loves music even more; in the car, she requests "The Song of the Cebu" or "The (New and Improved) Bunny Song" and is trying to sing along with them. She realized that Mama really likes these songs by singing along to them; she since picked up humming along to Sousa marches and singing "say-BOOOO!" in time to "Song of the Cebu".
Here's what I'm getting to: when they're young, it's best to start teaching them the basics (Drawing lines, walking, potty training (Egad!), etc.); this includes teaching them about our God. Later on, the child grows up and starts a family of his (or her) own; they, in turn, must teach their child or children of God and His mercies. In the meantime, we can pray for them and teach them diligently.
We're not guaranteed a long life; we are guaranteed, however, with a tough road that is endured due to Christ. In order to do that, we must learn to be like children in that regard and learn from our Father.
The husband's deployments.
With the war in Iraq over and the war in Afghanistan dwindling down (At least on our ends.), people are being assured that the dangerous stuff is done with. That's not true at all. Men and women are still getting injured or dying over there and it's possible that the husband will be sent back there in the near future. Obviously, I'm not too thrilled with that prospect.
That said, God told us not to worry:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.- Matthew 6:25-34
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
I shouldn't be anxious for it, for God has it covered already.
If you haven't done so, remember to pray for those that wear the nation's uniform, regardless of how you feel about the troops being there; pray that they return safely to their families and for the chaplains that minister to them while they are in harm's way.
Yesterday, these verses were read for our call to worship; immediately after it was read, two or three infants started making "joyful noises" (So much so that the pastor started laughing, the congregation was laughing, and my husband had quipped "Those are joyful noises, Pastor!"). What a perfect way for God to prove His sovereignty and His perfect timing (It was also a good reminder that we are to have joyful hearts when it comes to worship; sin has a tendency to burden our hearts and try to rob us of our joy. When penitent Christians come together, joy is to be found.)! :D
God is indeed faithful and His love is steadfast; He is also just and holy. All of those things (and more!) are reason enough to praise Him.
It is a blessing to know that we are His people, and that He wants us to call Him our God.
Speaking of joy, Charles Spurgeon had this to say about it:
Our happy God should be worshipped by a happy people; a cheerful spirit is in keeping with his nature, his acts, and the gratitude which we should cherish for his mercies.
Praise God with happy hearts and cheerful spirits!
One popular song when I was growing up was Haddaway's "What Is Love?" (I'll spare you from posting a link to the video.). However, the question was never really answered (At least, to my satisfaction.).
Instead of some pop song, God not only gave us the answer to "what is love?", but He fleshed it out in the form of His Son being crucified in our place. People may find that hard to swallow (I did!), but it is the Truth. We should never apologize for standing up for that Truth, but we are to confess it with boldness and gentleness.
We're to rejoice in the Truth! We're to revel in it! We're not only to embrace it, but we're to share it, too! If we do love, then we must endure for the sake of Christ! Nothing else can change that and nothing can separate us from this Truth (Nothing can separate us from the love of God...see Romans 8:38-39.).
To God be the glory; great things He has done!
Lately, I've been out of sorts; I couldn't explain why, since things have been looking up. Even so, there's always a small, dark cloud hanging nearby.
That's why this verse will be memorized this week; one who has a joyful heart can go through trials bruised but never crushed. The one with the crushed spirit withers and fades away.
When we find ourselves with crushed spirits, we need to turn to the Holy Spirit (We are His temple.) to give us a joyful heart. While feelings are fleeting in this world, joy remains constant in the Christian's heart.
May the Lord bless you with a joyful heart this week!
I honestly believe that we struggle with this constantly; we find things that entice us into sin, yet God wants us to give up those sins to run toward Him. The desires of the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life often hinder us and burden us with sins that, frankly, embarrass us before the throne of grace.
It's our sins that put Christ on the cross. It's our sins that condemned Him to die in our place. Why? God loved us. God may be a God of wrath, but He is also the One that draws us gently to Him in the first place.
We also ask ourselves what God's will for us is; a suggestion might help. If it doesn't align with Scripture, it's best to leave it be. That does mean that we must be knowledgable with the Word, but we must also be close to our Father.
Do the will of God and despise the very things that entrap us! There'll be a time when we will be in eternal communion with the Sovereign of the universe; how glorious that day will be (Especially since we don't deserve to be in His Presence yet He allowed us access anyway!!)! Glory be to God!
For some Christians, doctrine is most important. For others, peace and unity are their battle cries. Why not have both? Correct doctrine and peace can be achieved, if a person strives to allow the Holy Spirit work in him or her (Not necessarily a choice to let the Spirit work, but more along the lines of realizing the depth of the person's sin and clings to the Father for deliverance of said sin; thankfully, He gave us such deliverance.).
Do notice that we're to be humble, gentle and patient with one another, and more than willing to maintain peace and unity in the Spirit. This doesn't mean that we're to accept heresy, but the "minor issues" (Baptism, in Reformed circles, is a hotly debated topic, but can be put aside for wonderful fellowship amongst Baptists and Presbyterians. Some of my closest friends hold fast to Reformed Baptist beliefs; they're also quick to edify and correct me on essential doctrine, such as the Trinity. I am blessed to call them friends.); this falls in line with another set of verses that admonish us to be gentle in our responses (1 Peter 3:8-16).
We really should be humble and gentle with our brothers and sisters, as well as unbelievers; who knows how the Lord works in the hearts of man? We certainly don't and we shouldn't usurp God in that regard. In the meantime, gentle answers do turn away wrath and kindness does feel as if burning coals are heaped onto scoffers' heads. That shouldn't be our goal, however; our goal is Christ.
The first thing a person does when he or she has been attacked for their personal beliefs is to complain about it (Don't deny it; I've done it a time or two myself!); either that or snap right back at the attacker, causing an argument that will never end (That in itself is a pain.).
I have a challenge; instead of fighting back (with your tongue or your fists) and instead of complaining, we should consider a different tactic: Thank God for it!
It sounds completely odd, but hear (read?) me out: What the world finds to be a strength isn't necessarily what God wants us to do; we can be treated as heroes for beating up a bully, but we still assaulted someone who is in God's image. We can always be generous with our money, but it really isn't our money to begin with (It belongs to God.) and our motive behind the generosity should be considered. While psychologists encourage married couples to have fantasies regarding other people, God says that our desires are for one another alone and not to defile the marriage bed.
That said, no matter what we do, we'll always be the world's adversary since we claim Christ's righteousness as ours. Rejoice in the fact that you are different and, most importantly, that God is your God and He has called you to be His. We don't lack for anything because God provides our needs (See v. 4.); our faith is strengthened when we trust God more.
Praise God for such wondrous things!
While I love the idea of God being a fortress, a shield and a resting place, I'm also comforted in knowing that His reign is forever! It has no end! It'll never cease to exist! He'll never be an ex-God! (I like Monty Python...at least the first season; the rest is rubbish.)
I, as well as a lot of Christians, take comfort in knowing that God is sovereign and will always remain so; He has things under control and will never lose control. Do we know of anyone else that can claim that? I don't.
Glorify God and thank Him especially for His sovereignty.
If it's one thing that saddens me, it's that I sometimes don't walk humbly with God; I end up trying to leave Him in the dust! He is, after all, a holy and righteous God and I'm a sinner (saved only by His grace). I sometimes am foolish with my time (Spending it on a game rather than studying the Word!) and my patience (Losing it with Bee instead of keeping calm and remaining patient.), so a reminder to walk humbly with my Lord is always a blessing for me.
Even when you do fall down (Sin.), you can still stand up (repent) and keep walking (becoming sanctified) because we are clothed in Christ's righteousness.
Do pray for me for the next couple of weeks: I'll be preparing some music (vocal solo) to sing during the church's offertory; pray that my voice doesn't give out and, most importantly, that God is glorified.
May you walk humbly with your God this week!
(Even though the Scripture memorizing challenge is over, I'll keep going on; honestly, I could use to learn more Scripture!)
I guess I have the idea of God being a refuge and fortress stuck in my head; the only Constant in this life (and the next) is an unshakeable, unmovable, holy God that serves as a refuge and fortress! We all can use a little more stability in our lives (I know I do; it certainly eases the stress and pain of moving constantly.) and God provides that in spades.
While it may not appear that our lives are stable (In fact, life could look more chaotic and haphazard.), our souls are at rest.
A hymn that I love to sing is "It is Well With My Soul"; it was written by Horatio Spafford, after the loss of his children (They were on a ship that had sunk; out of his family, his wife survived.). The following verse in particular stirs my heart:
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
With the various trials that come our way, we have the assurance that Christ shed His blood on our behalf and that we're able to abide in His shadow.
I heard a thought-provoking sermon today, courtesy of a Navy chaplain who is due to deploy with his Marines in a few weeks.
One thing that was pointed out was this: Would you make your New Year's resolution to be working on your sanctification?
I thought it was a good idea and it is something to work on (My relationship with the Lord always needs tending; occasionally, a little pruning here and there doesn't hurt!), so I pass it on to you.
Work on your sanctification this year; make this year a year of living for the Lord's will.
I'll continue to post verses that I'll be memorizing and to bring up various things that catch my eye.