Friday, July 10, 2015

Saving Grace

Been  quite a long while since I've posted on here... Guess I've been busy with life and work.  But The Lord has  been teaching me so many things. Going on the mission trip to the Philippines  in March really changed my perspective on  life.  I've been doing a lot of stepping back  and asking God to help me have more trust in Him, instead of trying to work everything out  on my own. I want Him to have complete control. That's simply not easy... But I'm so thankful I have a Father who is ever long suffering and loves me in spite of myself.  I've been learning to have a heart full and overflowing with thankfulness,  through sunshine and clouds.  Through past pain, and  and through fears of the future. He is my creator and King, and still reigns on the throne, and cares. I've been focusing on stopping at some point in my day and writing down a blessing. A thank you note to God. I've never journaled more in my life! I never knew there were so many jewels strung across  my path!  Thought you might enjoy a page or two from my blessings journal.

July 5, 2015 Sunday
Today I'm thankful for saving grace. I find myself gazing out the car window, staring out into the deep and wide neat rows of corn stalks. They seem  so deep, never ending, as far as the eye can see. Kind of like this deep grace that's so full of wisdom, and unthinkable love.... It goes on forever, like those rows and rows of green stalks,  only, it goes farther. I imagine that little girl of 9 again. Taking the hatchet in my hand, and letting it come down hard on that stick of wood, my little heart swelling with pride at the thought  that I was defying the words,  "no you can't".  I always thought I could do anything my heart wished to accomplish. I'd watched my daddy swing that hatchet many times, and watched in wonder as that cracking, splitting noise filled the air, little splinters of wood falling here and there. I was totally intrigued.  I wanted so much to have splitting these little pieces of fire starters as my job instead of doing the dishes! My wise mother knew better! She'd seen my longing look, and forbade  me to try doing this on my own without a guiding hand.  But I did it anyways one day. After several amazing hits, that hatchet came down hard on my hand that was still holding that sliver of wood. Looking down with horror at my bleeding hand, I ran to my mommy, the very one I had defied. She didn't ask why, she just looked at my pathetic hand with so much compassion., that sitting down she almost fainted! And I think about my Heavenly Father, like my earthly mother, He tries to save me from myself. He warns me from going a certain way-my way. But I don't listen, because I think I can do it myself. But I can't. And so He sends that saving grace, to save me from myself. And this grace is often filled with tears, pain and brokenness. And when I fall in pain and utter dispair at His feet, He looks at me with a look filled with unthinkable love. And I smile again as He wraps me in His arms of love and binds up my wounds. Oh, teach me Jesus! And may I learn before you have to send that saving grace. I know it pains your heart just as much and more than it pains mine. Help me be that obedient student, learning and obeying at every step. Even if I don't understand.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Masters Puzzle...

Raindrops stung my face as I walked along, canvassing bag slung over my shoulder, trying my best to  keep books and shoes dry... Every once in a while a foot splashed into an unseen puddle. It had been one of those trying days for a canvasser. Low book sales, and seemingly no real special meetings. As I walked from door to door, I started to sing to keep up my courage.. Of Heaven and homesickness for that unknown land. As I tried to frame a picture in my mind of what it would be like to sit at the feet of Jesus and look into His face, tears threatened to escape their borders. Shaking my head as if to come back into reality, I asked for the strength to smile.

I wondered why God  hadn't seen fit to answer my prayers earlier that morning. I had prayed for a special day. After-all, it was my last day Canvassing, so why  did today have to be so hard?  I had prayed for a certain Book goal, and I hadn't even sold a third of what I asked for... In fact it was my lowest day of the whole program!

But perhaps not the lowest day after all.... Just in another way. Let me tell you why.

After the man gave me a cup full of change for a little Steps to Christ , and  another what money he could spare for a Great controversy, I remembered that God sees the big picture. And though He hadn't seen best to answer my prayer that day in the way I thought He should, He had an even better plan, of which perhaps  I won't understand till eternity. And at the thought, I couldn't help but smile, as I continued down my long, wet street.

My mind wandered back to a Sabbath not long ago, sitting in Church with my little brother perched on my lap, putting a puzzle together of Daniel in the lions den. He was tired, and a little cranky. As I handed him each puzzle piece, he put it in its proper place. But there was one piece he was sure went in this particular place, and so kept shoving it in, only to find again that it didn't work. As I gently tried to show  him it was upside down, it just seemed to frustrate him more! Finally, he let me show him, and then he understood...

And that made me think of how many times I try to fit a giant-life sized puzzle piece in a particular way... and it just doesn't work... even though it seems like it should go this way.  And then my patient, all knowing Father takes it from my hand, and shows me gently it was "upside down" from the beautiful picture He's had in mind all along. And only when I give that giant puzzle piece into His hand, can the picture be complete in all its glory.


Ever since I was little I've always struggled with a certain concept. How could God love me sooo much? I can remember as a little girl laying out on the grass, looking up into the sky, feeling like He was so far away, and wondering what He was like... wondering if He could see me there, and  how much He really loved me.

The more I strive to know Him, the more I begin to understand His love. And the more I learn to trust Him, the more I've learned to surrender it all to His hands.. even those things I used to labor over, but realized it was all upside down according to the masterpiece He had in mind. It's honestly awesome to put it in His hands and watch and wait for the picture to unfold in His way!

This statement of His love even still continues to blow my mind though, and perhaps  I will never fully understand. I can see Him smiling at my innocent weak comprehension!

"The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare." Steps to Christ p. 100

Yeah, so is it just me, or is this a thought that stretches your brain too?

Simply amazing...

Why did I ever think I couldn't trust Him?




Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Miracle Of His Transforming Hands..


The Summer is over and gone. The flowers fade, and bend there heavy faces to the earth, as their seeds fall, to be buried into the tilled under, brown earth, to spring forth to life again next year.



The harvest is here.

And as we harvest the potatoes, the carrots, the last of the tomatoes, and the prized pumpkin, my heart stands in awe and wonder, as I ponder this miracle.




It seems like just yesterday, I was running around, barefoot, in the freshly tilled dirt of spring, casting those tiny seeds into the little furrows of dirt. Little hands helping too, casting seeds here and there, causing little forests of carrot tops to poke from the ground.



How can a tiny seed, cast into this brown dirt, grow into a beautiful sturdy plant that brings forth an abundant harvest? Who makes the seed sprout? What makes it grow, and bud? Who causes the rain to moisten it's tiny heart? Who gives it life?



A soul might wonder at this. And I did.

But an even greater wonder is this-

Who can change the lepers spots? Who can change a heart of flesh from a heart of stone? Who can cause the blind to see, the lame to walk? Who can create the miracle of life from the barren dirty dirt? And Why?


The answer is this-

God.

Its all a miracle from His hands.

It's all because of a love and power no Human tongue can explain, comprehend, or imitate, no matter how hard they may try.

Oh let the world wonder at the miracle of transformation made in our hearts...





Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Essence of the Gospel

Sometimes inspiration comes to me at some of the strangest times..

Like this morning, it was while taking a shower! =)

The question came to my mind, 'What is the essence of the Gospel?' I mean, there are so many things that a Christian is to do..

A good prayer life. Spending time in His word. Service to others. High standards. A life full of Faith. Choosing Godly friends. Good Stewardship. Rooting out bad habits. Keeping our thoughts pure.. and the list goes on.

But what is the root of all this?

Its almost like the angels smiled at my question.

As I lathered the shampoo into my hair, the answers came in like a flood.

This is the essence of the Gospel:

TO KNOW GOD.

That's simply it.

And the rest will follow automatically!

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."  -John 17:3



He alone can show us how to do the rest. When we try to live this life on our own, we will stumble and fall until we can't see the light of hope at all.

Do we know this God, the only true God?

Or is it the gods of this world that are known to us?

He's not just there to be that all powerful God, He longs with more hearts desire than we can ever know, to simply be our friend.

How about we stop, look up, and listen?

He's waiting even now.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Anniversary With Jesus.

This journey with Jesus, has been so much better than I could have ever dreamed of, back then as an innocent 11 year old.  He has led me faithfully through the valleys, always showing this stubborn girl, who think she can handle it herself, that really He has everything in control, and can do a much better job handling things than me!  He has showed me, that those many things that I thought I had to have for happiness, really only bring me tears.  And even though as they are one by one torn from my heart, and I cry out in pain, “Why”, He has been (and still is) showing me that all I need, to poses that deep happiness and pleasure in life, is Him and Him alone.  He has faithfully guided my feet, and still continues, as I learn to walk by His side with the growing faith,  that He knows where He’s going.


Today is my anniversary with Jesus. I’ve been committed to Him for 10 happy years. It’s been a long beautiful, and hard battle. But as I look back on the years, all I can do is smile! His patience is beyond my comprehension! His love is more beautiful than this stammering tongue can convey. He is becoming my all. My reason for living. My joy. My purpose is being found in Him alone.  So often He calls this heart to stand still before Him in awe of His power and majesty. That He is my God.. But yet he wants to be my friend. Everything about Him just amazes me! 

Perhaps you are chasing broken dreams, and are tired of what the world has to offer. My friend, He has so much to offer. I mean really! More than we could ever dream of! Try Him! He is faithful who has promised.. 

"Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."

I commit to Him afresh. And thank Him for His mercy. And His grace.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Love Counteth Not The Cost..


Love counteth not the cost.

Let me make those profound words a little more fathomable. 

You see, it's like this:

When Jacob fell in love with Rachel, those 7 years of hard labor to claim her for his own seemed as nothing. Even when he had to work on for another 7 whole years to earn the hand of the one he loved. 

"And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her."  Gen. 29:20

For Jacob, Love counted not the cost.

When the people of Esther's kin were doomed to death, and she, being the queen in the kingdom couldn't think of doing nothing, when she loved her God, and her dear people so. 

"..and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish."  Esther 4:16

To Esther, Love counted not the cost.

And on down through the ages. The song of the martyrs as the flames climbed their way to still the voice of the dear, loyal christian. For them, the love of the truth, and their God they held more dear than life itself. 

Yes, for them also, Love counted not the cost.

For the one who looked with broken heart upon the ones He created, so full of sin and misery. He asked what could be done to redeem them to Himself.. and said I will Go. Bowed with the deepest grief on that darkest night in history, in that lonesome garden. Then hung upon that cruel cross, His arms outstretched to  the world that hated Him. Oh, tis' here is love indeed! Here we see Love in it's fullest.
At the foot of the cross.

"...who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.." Hebrews 12:2 

For Jesus, Love counted not the cost.
  
Dear Heart, are you greater than these, that you might count the cost, for love to your brethren and to your God?

Oh that we might say these words with the apostle Paul...

"..I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved."  2 Corinthians 12:15

For us now, will we for Love count the cost?

"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." 1 John 4:8 



Love
If suddenly upon the street
My gracious Saviour I should meet,
And he should say, "As I love thee,
What love hast thou to offer me?"
Then what could this poor heart of mine
Dare offer to that heart divine?

His eye would pierce my outward show,
His thought my inmost thought would know;
And if I said, "I love thee, Lord,"
He would not heed my spoken word,
Because my daily life would tell
If verily I loved him well.

If on the day or in the place 
Wherein he met me face to face
My life could show some kindness done,
Some purpose formed, some work begun,
For his dear sake, then, it were meet
Love's gift to lay at Jesus' feet.
~Charles Francis Richardson 


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

His Hearts Desire.. And Mine.

My mind was full of unanswered questions, frustrations and a feeling of being all alone. 

Stepping out the door into the drizzle of the soft rain drops, I walked down our little dirt road, pouring my heart out to my Father. 

I suddenly noticed the wildflowers blooming all around in their grand array of color, and simple beauty. As I gathered them, I said aloud, "oh dear Father, your love for me is written everywhere!" So much You have done for me...

I lifted my eyes to the dark clouds above, saying, "oh what can I do in return?"

Long pause..

'All I desire is your heart.'

My eyes still lifted to the sky... Hot tears now uncontrollably streaming down my cold cheeks. 

'I know it's hard. There's those things that you desire that you wonder if I would give you.'

'But my child, I created you, I know what you need more than you do.' 

'I love you.'

And then it hit me..

His desire..

"Delight thyself also in the Lord..."

My desire..

"And He shall give thee the desires of thine heart."

His hearts desire and mine combined. 

When they are, we long for the same things.

Falling on my knees in the wet gravel...

'Here it is Father, its all Yours to keep.'



*****************************


"He was better to me than all my hopes;
He was better than all my fears;
He made a bridge of my broken works,
And a rainbow of my tears.

"The billows that guarded my sea-girt path,
But carried my Lord on their crest;
When I dwell on the days of my wilderness march
I can lean on His love for the rest.

"He emptied my hands of my treasured store,
And His covenant love revealed,
There was not a wound in my aching heart,
But the balm of His breath hath healed.

Oh, tender and true was the chastening sore,
In wisdom, that taught and tried,
Till the soul that He sought was trusting in Him,
And nothing on earth beside.

"He guided by paths that I could not see,
By ways that I have not known;
The crooked was straight, and the rough was plain
As I followed the Lord alone.

I praise Him still for the pleasant palms,
And the water-springs by the way,
For the glowing pillar of flame by night,
And the sheltering cloud by day.

"Never a watch on the dreariest halt,
But some promise of love endears;
I read from the past, that my future shall be
Far better than all my fears.

Like the golden pot, of the wilderness bread,
Laid up with the blossoming rod,
All safe in the ark, with the law of the Lord,
Is the, covenant care of my God."

~Unknown