Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mercies Anew

I think I posted something on this topic a while ago, but I happened (in the providence of God) to open up to these verses today:

Lamentations 3:22-26

Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. . ."

I often wake up in the morning and go throughout the day with a "God'll get me through somehow" mentality--it was kind of like that today, in fact. However, these verses say so much more! "God's just going to . . ." in an impersonal, distant way changes to a "Wow--God is personally working in my life each and every day!"

In the haste and bustle of every day life, it is so easy to think of God as just . . . there, for lack of a better way of saying it. Sure I pray to Him often and often sing praises to Him, I don't often think of Him as He really is. God's love for me isn't some broad, all encompassing love that He has for His children that just covers me like everyone else, it's a special love--a love just for me. He's not just going to give me generous dose of mercy, same as yesterday. No! His compassions are NEW EVERY DAY!! This brought so much joy to me as I read because I realized anew the awesomeness of that statement. Yesterday's grace was definitely not enough to get me through today. Each day brings something different: a different challenge, a different experience, you name it. God knew before the world began EXACTLY what trials I would encounter, and He gives me just enough grace to get through each day. Some days I need more, some perhaps I need less, but God always gives me enough and, what's more, He always gives it.

Not only does this speak a lot to me on dealing with difficulties, but it also communicates VOLUMES about the love of God. Seems to me that giving grace to me would provide full time jobs for at least ten people (I need a lot of grace), but God not only does this for me--He also does it for every other one of His children. This concept is completely unfathomable to me. And can it be? Oh yes! Oh YES!! This is GOD! Stop for a minute and just think about this. I am totally blown away in wonder at the power, might, and love of the Lord. Nobody else can even come CLOSE to loving me this way, let alone loving so many people of all walks and races of life.

Do you know the love of God in this intimate, personal way? Are you familiar with the way His mercies are new each and every day? No matter who you love most in the world, despite the most wonderful love you may experience from your family/friends, NOTHING at all can ever compare to the love of God. Probably one of the most amazing things about this love is that it is free. You and I have nothing to offer God that He does not already have--He doesn't need anything from us. Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to His cross I cling. There is a hymn that encapsulates the beauty of God's love for us.

Original Trinity Hymnal, #393
Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity joined with pow'r:
He is able,He is able,He is able,
He is willing; doubt no more.

Come, ye needy, come and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Ev'ry grace that brings you nigh,
Without money,Without money,Without money,
Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry till you're better,
You will never come at all:
Not the righteous,Not the righteous,Not the righteous,
Sinners Jesus came to call.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness he requireth
Is to feel your need of him;
This he gives you,This he gives you,This he gives you;
'Tis the Spirit's rising beam.

Lo! th'incarnate God, ascended,
Pleads the merit of his blood;
Venture on him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude:
None but Jesus,None but Jesus,None but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Writing His Law on My Heart

I've been discovering lately that I really know so much less than I give myself credit for. Yeah. I have also found that Satan is very clever in the lies that he tells college students. IMHO, "cram season" is one of his favorite times to mess with the minds of believing scholars. In my devotions tonight, I was reading again from Jeremiah and saw this verse underlined,

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people . . . For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. Jeremiah 31:33 and 34b.

Okaaay . . . this is what I WANT so badly. It is so easy for me to make excuses about why I am too busy to do my devotions during cram time and to discuss why God really understands what I’m going through, so it’s really all okay. WRONGO (as Dad likes to say)! This is the time that I need it the most! When things get hardest, during the roughest times, I need to rely more fully on God, not listen to the lies of the devil.

Time with God makes every day so much better. Recently, I’ve been trying to find ways to keep Him ever before my mind. I want the law of God written on my mind and heart. Perhaps I have not because I ask not? God has promised that He will not withhold any good things from His people—keeping Him ever at the forefront of my thoughts sounds like a good thing to me. I was just telling Julia this week (or maybe last) how I sometimes wish for the phylacteries of the Pharisees, not because I want to look spiritual or trying to impress others, but because I truly think that my life would be a better offering if I were constantly thinking on the Lord. How can I honor Him (my main purpose and goal in life) if I can’t even REMEMBER Him?!?

In desperate attempt to do this, I’ve been trying little tricks. If the people who saw me smiling and moving my body in rhythm to the song in my head knew WHAT the song in my head actually was, then they would be in for a huge surprise. Steve Green’s “Hide Em’ In Your Heart” songs were always a central part of my childhood, and I have found them to be the easiest way for me to memorize scripture. When my day is bad, I force myself to sing “A joyful heart is good medicine, good medicine, a joyful heart . . . but a broken spirit dries up the bones, a broken spirit dries up the bones . . .” ba dum bum bum . . . and after about ten times through, there is joy in my heart and a smile on my face as I dance-walk to my next class across campus. Amazing what a HUGE difference just a little bit of keeping God before my eyes makes for me. I actually have the whole CD in my car for those times when I need reminders. “G-O-D is L-O-V-E” is another favorite of mine. Whatever works.

What do you do? Do YOU seek God’s face? Do you know the love and sheer joy that comes from being a child of God? If you don’t, please ask me about it. I hope you can see it, at least in some measure, in my life.

Please pray for me as cram season begins and my stress levels boost to levels unknown. Pray that God would keep Himself ever before my eyes, and please pray that He would keep be sane during this time.