Thursday, 31 October 2013

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Tonight it is the night before one of my exams and yet I am on here writing a post. Part of me thinks I must be crazy, and yet part of me knows I need to write tonight. For it's been "one of those days" where trials seem to crop up at the worst of times. And so my mind has been so unfocussed from my exams and yet I know that the Lord will help me face tomorrow as He does every day. 

Basically, I felt I need to write this post to remind myself that God is faithful, even on the hard days! I feel so hypocritical saying that when I - sinner that I am! - doubt this truth time and time again, despite Him proving that He is on a daily basis. Have you heard the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness? Well, I was reminded of it today, and the words are so true! Here it is:

Great is Thy Faithfulness


 “Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” 
“Great is Thy faithfulness!“
 Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
 “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Chorus

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

What wonderful words, and a reminder I really needed to hear today! The Lord really has provided all I need and I need to look to Him with an attitude of thankfulness rather than a complaining one. 

It's amazing also how the Lord can at times prepare us for a tricky day ahead.This morning, I read these wonderful words from Martyn Lloyd-Jones' book Spiritual Depression (a book I highly recommend you read if you haven't already!):

"We are to rejoice because it is proof of our faith. The moment we become Christians the devil is particularly concerned to get us down, and he ahs no more successful way of doing that than to make us miserable, or to make us suffer from what Charles Lamb has described as 'the mumps and measles of the soul'. Such Christians are like marasmic children, not growing, not manifesting health and vigour; and any Christian in that condition is more or less a denial of his own faith, and Satan is pleased. For that reason he is particularly concerned to produced this condition in us and there is no end to the ways in which it may affect us, and in which it may show itself in us...
The good news, of course, is it doesn't end there - for the Lord is in control even over Satan and so Satan's power is limited. And even if we do reach a low point like that, the Lord is with us always. Watch this space for more quotes from this book. :) 

Anyway, I'll leave it there and get back to my revision now that I'm feeling re-engergised spiritually! Thank you heavenly Father!

God bless!


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

More Than You Can Handle? ~ Joni Eareckson Tada

Another brilliant devotional by Joni Eareckson Tada!

More Than You Can Handle?


"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."  
1 Corinthians 10:13

Every once in a while 1 Corinthians 10:13 bugs me. At those times I'm prone to think God couldn't expect from me what He does from others because mine is a "different story." I especially thought that way when I was lying on my hospital bed: How can You be putting me through all this? It's more than I can bear - even with Your help, God!

The truth is, my story is not different. Neither is yours. My quadriplegia hasn't earned me any Purple Heart medals with God. My bouts with pressure sores and lung problems haven't exempted me from 1 Corinthians 10:13. If the Lord allows crushing hardships to pile on top of all the other baggage that goes with being disabled, I can't whine. It never can be said of me, "She has good reason to let off steam every now and then."

Whenever I entertain stubborn, stiff-necked thoughts of resentment, I've noticed I don't go forward but backward. The problems aren't easier to handle; they become harder. I must remember Hebrews 12:4 which warns complainers, "...you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood." What a good reminder! I'm not a martyr; nobody's drawn and quartered me, laid me on a rack, sawed me asunder, or run me through with a sword - so things can't be that bad.
__________________________

True, 1 Corinthians 13 may bug you when you think you must disobey because the temptation is too great. But remember, we can never be forced to disobey. We don't sin because we have to; we sin because we want to.

~~~

God bless!

 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Quote by James Smith

Hi all,
Yes, here is another amazing quote I read today, which makes me realize that it's about time I went and actually read books/sermons etc. by these amazing writers rather than simply being content with quotes. What a wonderful reminder this is!

James Smith, "Comfort for Christians!"

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose!" Romans 8:28

All things? Yes! Everything that happens to the Christian is directed and overruled by God's special Providence for his good! The experience may be very bitter--it may lay him very low and try him to the core; it may keep him in the dust for a long time. But it will do him good--not only in the end, but while it lasts.

Believer, your present trial is for your good. Nothing could be better for you! You may not see it now; you may even feel as if you never could think so--but the time is coming when you will bless God for it.

You love God--and God loves you with an infinite and eternal love. You came to the cross as a poor sinner--and you looked to the Lord Jesus to be your perfect Savior. This proves that you have been called according to God's purpose. You are one of God's beloved ones, and as such--you may have the assurance that all things . . .light and darkness, health and sickness, hatred and love, prosperity and adversity, life and death--will work together for your good!

Dark clouds bring rich blessings--and sharp winters introduce fruitful springs. Even so, sore troubles often precede the sweetest consolations. Your present affliction--whether it is . . .sickness of body, trouble of mind, bereavements, losses, crosses, or whatever else --is working for your good. It will work for good in the future, and it is working for good now. While your heart is bleeding, and you are tempted to think that all is against you--all is working together for your good!

Dear Lord, I do not see how my affliction can be good for me. But help me, Lord, to accept it as such by faith--so that I may receive what You have for me through it.

"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope!" Romans 5:3-4
 ~~~
 God bless!

J.R. Miller Quotes on Suffering

I saw these quotes by J.R. Miller. They really help us to gain a better perspective on suffering ~ I must start reading some of his writings! Praying that it blesses you today! :)

Help for the Day ~ J.R. Miller 

"Cast your burden on the LORD--and He shall sustain you" Psalm 55:22

The promise is not that the Lord will remove the load we cast upon Him, nor that He will carry it for us--but that He will sustain us so that we may carry it!

He does not free us from duty--but He strengthens us for it.

He does not deliver us from conflict--but He enables us to overcome.

He does not withhold or withdraw trial from us--but He helps us in trial to be submissive and victorious, and makes it a blessing to us.

He does not mitigate the hardness or severity of our circumstances, taking away the difficult elements, removing the thorns, making life easy for us--but He puts Divine grace into our hearts, so that we can live sweetly in all the hard, adverse circumstances!

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness!" 2 Corinthians 12:9

~~~ 

Another amazing quote by J.R. Miller:

"God does not give joy to His children by making them incapable of suffering. Divine grace makes the heart all the more tender, and the capacity for loving all the deeper; hence it increases rather than lessens the measure of sorrow when afflictions come...

But the joy of the Christian is something which lies too deep to be disturbed by the waves and tides of earthly trouble. It has its source in the very heart of God. Sorrow is not prevented by grace, but is swallowed up in the floods of heavenly joy...God's joy is not the absence of sorrow, but divine comfort overcoming sorrow — sunshine striking through the black clouds, transfiguring them! 'You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy!' John 16:20."


God bless!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Book Review: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads summary:
Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. 'How, ' Ann wondered, 'do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long---and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?' In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God's gifts. It's only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we've always wanted ... a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved --- by God. Let Ann's beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all.

My Opinion:
At first I was a bit skeptical of this book, due to the style in which it was written which felt a bit "New Age" for my liking. This would be the main critcism I have: her writing is very different, almost more like poetry and so it can be hard to read and understand at times. However, I am so glad that I didn't put it down but perservered because as I grew used to Ann Voskamp's unique writing style, I realized I had found a really deep and powerful read. This book really is aimed at Christians who are going through a hard time and encouraging us to think more deeply about why God allows suffering. Rather than looking at the negative in life, she encourages us to have an attitude of thankfulness (which she refers to throughout the book in the use of the word "eucharisteo")and to be counting our blessings each and every day. Ann Voskamp shows us how even the mundane or terrible in life can be used as an act of worship to the God who made us. What a powerful read and one that I hope other Christians who may be going through difficult times will read.

Some of my favourite quotes from it were:

"...do I always want to see *more* beauty - *more* of the glory of God? Because that is what I am made for - to give Him more glory. More eucharisteo, more. And not only yesterday. But today..." ~ p.109 ~

"Every time fear freezes and worry writhes, every time I surrender to stress, aren't I advertising the unreliability of God? That I really don't believe? But if I'm grateful to the Bridge Builder for the crossing of a million strong bridges, thankful for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust Him again. I fearlessly cross the next bridge...It's only when you live the prayer of thanksgiving that you live the power of trusting God... When bridges seem to give way, we fall into Christ's safe arms, true bridge, and not into hoplessness...We can give thanks in everything because there's a good God leading, working all things into good...Each bridge I need to cross, form one moment to moment the next, is wholly safe, each leading me deeper into Him and closer to home...It is safe to trust!" ~ p.151, 155 ~

God bless!










PS Upon further examination, it appears that there is a bit of controversy surrounding this book and how theologically sound it is. Please know that in recommending this book I am not saying I agree with everything the writer says or the particular ways she communicates certian ideas. Rather, I felt it did remind me to look to my Saviour during the hard times and to have an attitude of thankfulness towards Him, and by virtue of this, I do think it is worth a read.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Thank You for the Valley

A lovely song I heard today! I've included two versions of the same song - one with instruments and without as they both were so lovely!

Thank You for the Valley



Thank you for the valley I walked through today.
The darker the valley, the more I learned to pray.
I found you where the lilies are, Blooming by the way,
And I thank you for the valley I walked through today.

Thank you for every hill I climbed.
For every time the sun didn't shine.
Thank you for every lonely night.
I prayed 'til I knew everything was all right.

Life can't be all sunshine. All the flowers would die.
The rivers would be deserts, all barren and dry.
Life can't be all blessings or, there'd be no need to pray.
So I thank you for the valley I walked through today.

Thank you for every hill I climbed.
For every time the sun didn't shine.
Thank you for every lonely night.
I prayed 'til I knew everything was all right.

Thank you for the valley, I walked through today.

The words are so true! Trials help us to cling with ever-increasing reliance to our saviour. When we find ourselves facing the "valleys" and the "hills", we need to remember to pray to our saviour, to look to Him rather than ourselves ~ God gives us prayer for a reason!

God bless!