Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Some Things Never Change

How Deep the Father's Love For Us

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocing voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that helf Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I knoww that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast inJesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Sharon Jaynes gave a wonderful devotional today! It was all about the unfailing love of God! UNFAILING, NEVER CHANGING LOVE ("hesed") for us! That is really what all of us are looking for and God is the only one that can offer that to us. Sometimes we can feel that everything in our world is coming out from under us, people are leaving, we lose jobs, finances are overwhelming us and we wonder where God is during all this! Why is He not helping? Does He not care? Of course He is there and He does care! 1 John 4:8, "Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." That alone says it all but there are 240 mentions of this kind of love just in the Old Testament! Should that not tell you that there must be some truth to that? Even if there was just 1 mention of it--there should be no doubting the Word of God but God put it in that many times so that we would know and never forget that God loves us with an unfailing love. Psalm 136 reminds us that His love endures forever...26 times!

Now, I'm 21 years old and single. I have never had a boyfriend in my lifetime, but I always longed to have one and to meet that "special someone" God has in mind for me. I desire to have someone to love and to be loved by. I still do long for that but before that's all I desired! I didn't consider God and His love for me sufficient until that time when Mr. Right comes along. I wanted someone right then! I wanted the earthly and physical aspect of a relationship. That mindset got me into a lot of trouble on more than one occasion! No, I didn't compromise my purity for it or anything--but I allowed my guard to go down for a time in my life where I didn't care how I talked with guys (and no--we never did talk in God-honoring ways) which I greatly regret now! But as of lately I have come to rest in a great truth! God's love is sufficient for me. He really is my first love! And I value that loving relationship more than ever before! He's given me great hope and joy in these last few weeks and months. Like I said, I still do long for a man to spend the rest of my life with, but now I'm willing to wait for God's timing and His will to be done because He's sufficient for me...and will continue to be even when Mr. Right does come along!!

God's love is amazing to think about--we cannot always comprehend it and it will take an eternity to do so! How can such a Sovereign and amazing God love us and our sinful selves? Why? Because that is why He created us and more importantly--that's why He died and rose again for us! Because He loves us...we are His creation! We may not feel loved down here on earth, but we can rest assure that God will always love us with an awesome love! The greatest love we could ever ask for....hesed love! It's unfailing, never-ending, cherished love! Even during the hardest times...our most sinful moments...He still loves us with this love! Amazing! That is something to praise the Lord for today! I wanted to include the lyrics to one of my favorite songs about God's love but couldn't narrow it down to just I put a few up :)

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

Here is Love

Here is love, vast as the ocean
Lovingkindness as the flood
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom
Shed for us His precious blood
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten
Throughout Heav'n's eternal days

On the mount of crucifixion
Fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God's mercy
Flowed a vast a gracious tide
Grace and love, like mighty rivers
Poured incessant from above
And Heav'n's peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love

No love is higher, no love is wider
No love is deeper, no love is truer
No love is higher, no love is wider
No love is like Your love, o Lord

Thursday, March 10, 2011

God Will Come Through

Today's devotional was very encouraging. It talked about trusting God in every situation of our life. Sometimes we go through things and wonder where God is in all of it..."if He was there then why wasn't He stopping this from happening?!" can sometimes be our thoughts. I posted this on my Facebook wall but on March 8th my friend and RA from my freshman year here at BBC was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at the young age of 24. I was completely shocked as I am sure she and her husband, Chris were too when they heard the news. But, what surprised me (mostly because I do not think I would have been able to respond as she did) was the total trust and dependence they had on God from the moment they heard the news. She and her entire family came around her and recognized God's hand in this situation. They are very positive and trust that God will take care of Chelsey. I honestly do not know if I could have that kind of trust if the same thing happened to me! But she did and I am very encouraged by her testimony and pray for her daily now. She could have easily questioned if God was even there during this time! But she knew He was and is there as she walks through this with her family.

I personally have walked through many trials--deaths, relationships and personal struggles where at many times I wondered where God was during them all. But now that I am through them I see that God was there all the time and I just "had my eyes closed" and couldn't see Him there and at work. So often we have our eyes closed during these times and God is right there in front of us saying, "I'm here--I've got you!" but we're so focused on the problems that we do not hear Him. God knows about everything that happens to us and is there to help us through if we trust and depend on Him! We need to let Him carry us through each trial. For some of my situations I regretfully did not let God carry me through them and thought I had to get through them on my own and for some I did trust Him, but every time He was faithful to get me through when I finally saw that I needed Him! God is always present in your life and is directing your life according to His will if You follow Him. There will be some hard bumps along the way but that is what our awesome and mighty God is there for--to help you through! Trust Him to get you through...for only He can!

Proverbs 3:4-6
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."

Trust in the Lord-Point of Grace
Trust, trust in the Lord
Lean not on your own understanding
In all, all of your ways
Acknowledge Him
He'll make your path straight

You'll be my guide for life
I'll walk by Your side
With Your hand in mine
I'll go where You lead me

My eyes can only see
The ground beneath my feet

Your dreams are greater
Your ways are higher
O Lord please show me

Bless my thoughts
My dreams my imaginations
Step by step
Your delight, Your creation

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Failure is Not Final

Today's devotional was very good! Mary Southerland talked about failure in our lives and it was something I needed to hear. I've failed a lot in my life (and I will continue to do so throughout life) and no one likes to be a failure, but God still offers us hope! The verse she based her devotional from is Job 14:7,

"At least there is hope for a tree. If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail"

What an encouragement it is to know that those sins and failures are forgiven by God once we ask Him for forgiveness! It's ours--that's His promise! We do not have to let those failures hover over us to haunt our every day...we can have our lives move on and continue in our service to God. I don't know what I'd do if God didn't forgive our failures and I had to deal with the guilt and shame of them each day--I wouldn't be able to live with myself! But praise the Lord that He does offer that forgiveness for each of us. But, we also have to remember that if we fail it is not the end of our lives--we all will fail! It's part of our human sinful nature. But Mary Southerland points out that failure is a necessary part of our growth and maturity as a follower of Jesus Christ. Failure can interpret the unconditional love and forgiveness of God like nothing else can - if we let it. Desperation can be our friend if it makes us crave God and long to see His power unleashed in our lives. Failure is not final but God's grace is. What an awesome promise that is for each of us as children of an Almighty and Sovereign Father!

Mary Southerland puts some interesting people that were considered failures--

Beethoven's music teacher once told him that he was a hopeless composer.

Abraham Lincoln campaigned for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly and failed. He then opened a general store which failed after only a few months.

Walt Disney was fired by the editor of a newspaper for lacking creativity.

The Ford Motor Company was Henry Ford's third business. The first two didn't work out.

A teacher told Thomas Edison that he was too stupid to learn anything.

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times.

Now even those people that were considered failures went to prove that they were quite the opposite--they all became famous for their great successes in life! Shouldn't that give us even more hope as children of the King of Kings that even through our failures, He will work it all out for good! Romans 8:28 came back up in this devotional and it is becoming another one of my favorite verses.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose"

God promises that He WILL work everything out for our good when we love and obey Him and His will for our lives--even our worst failures in life! Now that is something we can praise the Lord for!

**And just an update on how God has provided for me over the past few weeks:

1) He allowed my old flute to sell on Amazon providing me with $270 for bills!

2) He provided me with my driver's permit on Saturday and I have been doing well!

3) He is going to provide me with $650+ in tax returns

4) He allowed me to take my two business classes during the fall and spring of next year (independent study) in order that I can graduate next year!

5) He provided me with a summer internship at Something Better, Inc. with Margaret Mantel

He really is doing so much in my life and providing greatly!!! I'm excited for my present and future and my #1 desire is to love God, serve Him and let His light shine from my life!