Friday, July 27, 2007

If You Will Only Let God Guide You

Many plans are in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

The way this hymn is worded is so convicting – if you will ONLY LET GOD guide you – I feel like the writer is saying to us, “Come on, already, people, just let God do His work!” When you let Him guide you, He’ll stand with you, and bear you through whatever comes your way. (Because, really, He has sent it your way in the first place!)

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him. Psalm 28:7

The second verse is equally convicting – only be still and wait HIS leisure to take whatever He is sending. He chose us, He knows us, and He is in control of what is happening!

But You know me, O LORD; You see me; and You examine my heart's attitude toward You. Jeremiah. 12:3

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24

Swerve not from His ways and trust His promise of grace – that is encouragement to my soul. As I endeavor to stay on the path of righteousness and pray for grace to trust Him more, I know that the only way to swerve not is to be focused on Christ, His word and His promises. He is our guide, and He will not forsake us. Amen.

For such is God, our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death. Psalm 48:14

If You Will Only Let God Guide You
Words by Georg Neumark

If you will only let God guide you,
And hope in Him through all your ways,
Whatever comes, He’ll stand beside you,
To bear you through the evil days;
Who trusts in God’s unchanging love
Builds on the Rock that cannot move.

Only be still, and wait His leisure
In cheerful hope, with heart content
To take whatever the Father’s pleasure
And all discerning love have sent;
Nor doubt our inmost wants are known
To Him Who chose us for His own.

Sing, pray, and swerve not from His ways,
But do your part in conscience true;
Trust His rich promises of grace,
So shall they be fulfilled in you;
God hears the call of those in need,
The souls that trust in Him indeed.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Beauty of Grace

This week's carnival of beauty is two days late due to an over zealous spam filter...but do check out these two entries:

Susanna writes that grace can be evident in good and bad times but reflecting on God's undeserved favour to us is a blessing to believers.

And I reflect on God's grace that covers all our sins.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Grace Greater Than Our Sin

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. John 1:17

Grace Greater Than Our Sin
Words by Julia Johnston

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt – isn’t that great news? Christ’s blood on the cross paid for all our sin – it is ALL covered by His amazing grace.

The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:20-21

As believers in Jesus Christ, grace reigns in our lives. Our sin is covered by His grace, even though we live in a world of sin. Sin does threaten us with despair and loss. I so often grieve at the results of the fall – so much sin and death in the world, which we all experience each and every day. But grace points to the cross – where Jesus took all that sin on Himself in order to set us free.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. II Cor. 8:9

That sin in the world is also in us, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Our sin leaves a dark stain, and it’s impossible for it to be hidden from our loving God. No matter how hard we try, we fall short of His glory, and we could never work hard enough to earn His grace and our salvation.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph. 2:8-9

And that is the beauty of grace. It is the gift of God. We can’t earn it, we simply believe in God and His son Jesus Christ, acknowledge our sin and accept His forgiveness.

In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. Eph. 1:5-8

As this hymnwriter so aptly says, it is marvelous, infinite, matchless grace. And it’s freely bestowed on everyone who believes. Your sin can be covered by this free gift of grace, you can be made clean. When you ask God to forgive your sins and be your personal Savior, you will be a recipient of that marvelous, infinite, matchless grace.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. Titus 2:11

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Keep On Praying

Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.
Psalm 54:2

Does it sometimes feel like your prayers are not making it past the ceiling? Do you feel that you pray and pray, and still don’t have an answer? This hymn provides great encouragement – Keep On Praying.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Col 4:2

This hymn tells us that God will answer the sincere heart - if we are abiding in Him, Jesus promises that we can ask whatever we wish, and it will be done for us, and in that, God will be glorified.

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:7-8

John also reminds us that when we pray according to God’s will, He hears us, and answers.

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. I John 5:14-15

James reminds us why should pray.

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16

No praying man or woman accomplishes so much with so little expenditure of time as when he or she is praying. – A.E. McAdam (from Streams in the Desert)

If you’re disillusioned or disappointed that you haven’t received an answer, Keep On Praying.

I really appreciate Charles Spurgeon's words on how we can respond when we don't have answers to our prayers:

"Delayed answers to prayer are not only trials of faith, but they give us opportunities of honoring God by our steadfast confidence in Him under apparent repulses."

While we wait, we have an opportunity to honor God through our faith and confidence in Him. And, of course, we Keep on Praying.

God always answers the general design and intention of His people’s prayers, in doing that which, all things considered, is most for His own glory and their spiritual and eternal welfare…The answer to prayer may be approaching, though we discern not its coming. The seed that lies underground in winter is taking root in order to a spring and harvest, though it appears not above ground, but seems dead and lost. – Bickersteth (from Streams in the Desert)

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:7-8

So, Keep On Praying. God hears, He will answer, and you’ll grow in grace and faith.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Eph. 3:20-21

Keep On Praying
Frederick W. Vandersloot

Keep on praying to God on high,
Keep on praying, He hears your cry;
God will answer the sincere heart,
Keep on praying, He will do His part.

For Jesus hears you,
He’s listening, listening to your plea,
So keep on praying,
And He will answer thee.

Keep on praying when bowed with sin,
Keep on praying and you will win;
Jesus suffered on Calvary,
Keep on praying, He will answer thee.

Keep on praying, you’ll grow in grace,
Keep on praying and win the race;
Jesus loves you, His Word is true,
Keep on praying, He will answer you.

Keep on praying, He’s ever near,
Keep on praying, ’twill banish fear;
“Thro’ the valley” He’ll walk with thee;
Guide thy footsteps to eternity.

Keep on praying all through the strife,
Prayer will purchase a crown of life;
Heav’n is ringing with songs above;
Hallelujahs, for a Savior’s love!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Come to Jesus

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6

As I have been reading and meditating on the book of John, I am continually surprised at how many times Jesus had to explain to the people who He was: they couldn’t understand that He indeed was one with the Father and that He had come to do God’s will on earth – to die for our sins. They just weren’t getting it. He performed signs and miracles, told stories, parables, and just told them straight up, and yet, many still did not believe.

It’s not even until the end of John chapter 6 that one of His disciples makes a profession of faith. It is then that

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God." John 6:68-69

Paul reminds us in Romans

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. Romans 10:9-10

The people who lived when Jesus walked on earth needed to come to Him for their salvation; to believe He is the Son of God and to profess with their mouth the same. It is no different today. If you give your heart to Jesus, He will make it white as snow.

"Come now, and let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

Come to Jesus
Words by Eden R. Latta

Come to Jesus, He will save you,
Though your sins as crimson glow,
If you give your heart to Jesus,
He will make it white as snow.

Come to Jesus! Come to Jesus!
Come to Jesus! come today!
Come to Jesus! Come to Jesus!
Come to Jesus! come, come today!

Come to Jesus do not tarry,
Enter in at mercy’s gate,
O delay not till the morrow,
Lest Thy coming be too late.

Come to Jesus, dying sinner,
Other Savior there is none,
He will share with you His glory,
When your pilgrimage is done.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I Love to Tell the Story

Come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell of what He has done for me. Psalm 66:16

The story of Jesus and His glory and His love is a wonderful story. Is that story told through your life, your actions, your words, and your daily interaction with others?

What has Jesus done for you that you can tell others about?

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:13-14

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. Eph 1:7

But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:22-23

I can’t help but agree with the hymnwriter that those who know it best, seem to hunger and thirst for the story like everyone else. I know that’s true of myself: I can’t get enough of hearing the story.

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for You, O God. Psalm 42:1

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1

There’s a great story to tell. And a lot of people to tell it to – some have never even heard the story of salvation. People in faraway lands, or people in your backyard – they all need to hear the sweet, beautiful story of Jesus and His love.

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15

I Love to Tell the Story
Words by A. Katherine Hankey

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.

I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.