I hope to inspire and encourage others through my own life experiences and my faith ...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Holding On Strong Through The Storm

Have you ever listened to the song, "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns?  It is among my current favorites and moves me so strongly especially during this time of trial in my life. 

"I was sure by now, God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away."

Right now, I am trying very hard to hold on to His promises and provisions.  My husband lost his civilian job at the end of February and at first I never had a doubt in my mind that God would provide for us.  I went into the situation confident of God's plan for us.  I wasn't worried or fearful of our families fate in the least bit.  Even though He has given us small financial blessings and given us the luxury of spending so much family time together (Senior Airman was deployed last year March-August for training and we didn't see him) I have found myself getting more worried and questioning when He will step in and save the day.  I have faith that the perfect job is out there and the right opportunity will arise, but I think it is only human to become rundown and fearful. 

"And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm"

I think the important thing to remember is that despite our present circumstances, He is with us. Even when we can barely hear His voice whispering through the rain, we should ground our fears and focus in on Him. I am trying to find that courage and hope that I had a couple months ago. I am pushing myself to praise Him even when I am discouraged and dismayed. When I do this, I feel His comfort and grace. The rain doesn't always stop but I know that He is there standing over me, sheltering me.  Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."  It is comforting to remember that He sees things in a completely different way than we do.  What is blurry and distorted to us, He sees clearly. 

So I encourage you as you go through similar struggles to remember that He can see what we cannot. Remember all the times that He did come through for you, when He did provide for you and keep you from harms way. By looking back on those times when He came through for you, your faith will grow.  Praise Him for everything He has done, for everything you have, for everything that HE is.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Greatest Love Story

I came across the following verse over the weekend and it really touched me and helped prepare my heart for Holy week ...

"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." Romans 5:8

The last part of the verse, while we were still sinners, was the part that really caught my attention and pulled me in. Jesus came after many, many generations of sinners had already walked the earth. This was already a fallen world. God, being the all knowing Father that He is, also knew that sin would continue to plague His people in future generations to come. He didn't send Jesus because we were good and we deserved it ... He sent Jesus despite our disobedience because He loved us so deeply.

To paint the picture more clearly and to help you understand this act of love imagine this ... Imagine that there is a parent with a very rebellious child. A child who deliberately disobeys his parent. A child who ignores, spreads lies about, and has completely rejected his parent. If you are a parent you can imagine how hurtful and heart breaking it would be to have your child treat you in such a way. It would be so painful to endure such rejection from your own child, or from anyone for that matter. In some cases it would be much easier to just walk away and I think in our world many people would go to the extreme of completely detaching themselves from a situation such as this just to escape the pain of the severed relationship.

Remember the words, while we were still sinners ... when we rejected God, when we choose worldly things over Him, when we refused to seek Him, when we turned our backs, when we ignored Him ... He still loved us. He is God, creator of the universe with the power to wipe us all out in the blink of an eye if He wanted to. When we rejected Him, He could have turned His back and left us for dead but He didn't. As much as His heart was breaking for us, He stuck around and not only did He stick around but He made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may have life through Him. That is powerful! Seriously people!!! I say this to you with urgency and might! Think about it ... Really stop and ponder this act of love. NO MATTER WHAT, He loves you.

As Easter quickly approaches take the time to think about this. Remember Christ's unconditional, irrevocable love and devotion to you. Remember the ultimate sacrifice that He made for you. If you were the only person on this entire earth who ever lived, He wouldn't have changed a thing ... He would have done it solely for you. He will always be there for you, waiting for you to knock, waiting for the chance to be a part of your life. No matter what you have done, no matter how much you have rejected Him or denied Him, He is still there. He already paid the price to give you life ... while you were still a sinner ... He loved you.

This Easter praise God for the gift of love and everlasting life that He has bestowed upon you ... Rejoice in His name and lift Him up and give thanks!!!

Psalm 104:33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath!

Psalm 86:12 With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever ...

Psalm 68:35 God is awesome in his sanctuary. The God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!

Luke 1:68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people."

Ephesians 1:3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.