Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Thursday 7 #4

     Such a needed way to start my day:  in thanksgiving.  By God's grace, I will have a thankful heart, rather than a bitter one.  Well, He has given me many things, then, for which to thank Him!

  1. Having Him as my Father:  As time passes, I am finding His love to be ever so tender and sweet.  I may not understand why He chooses to do what He does, but that does not change His sweet love.  I am blessed to be a recipient of His love!
  2. Getting to know Him more:  Again, as time passes, I am finding Him that much more desirable.  Though Satan would like me to think otherwise, He is the most approachable person I know:  thanks to Jesus Christ!  I love His heart.
  3. Freedom from religion:  Knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, belonging to Him, has freed me from the bonds of religion.  There are times I find myself, slipping back into self-righteousness.  Yet, God is ever so faithful to remind me that I am secure in His grace; and, that the reason I live the way I do, is to be out of love for Him, and no other reason.  I love that He has given me the freedom to love Him, to follow Him, and to live for Him:  that I do not bear the weight of my salvation--He does.
  4. Second...Third...Fourth...Gazillion chances!  Oh, if I only had one opportunity to "get it right," whatever that "it" is, oh, my!  Yet, I have been blessed with too many opportunities to count, to try again.  Oh, the mercy of the Lord, truly is abundant and abounding!
  5. My Comforter, Teacher, and Friend:  The Holy Ghost has been an amazing Friend to me.  His relationship with me is totally unmerited, on my part.  I, again, am blessed to have Him indwelling me:  comforting me, teaching me, convicting me, protecting me...And, oh, so much more!  
  6. YouTube:  though there are many things on there, that I would not recommend, there are many things, that I would recommend!  I have been blessed to learn from many teachers, such as:  Sister Eleanor , Brother Bryan, Brother Mike and Sister Debi, Temple Baptist Church (pastored by Brother Charles Lawson), and many others.  I have been able to find countless fix-it videos, to aid in home/vehicle repairs; lessons on recipes, that we have thoroughly enjoyed; lessons of becoming more self-sufficient (though, I admit, I have yet to put many of these things to practice).  As I heard katzcradul put it one time, and I affectionately call it now:  "YouTube University."
  7. Books:  I am thankful for books!  Oh, how I have often enjoyed a good book!  I hope to replenish our depleted library (due to many losses in a storage flood).  I had gotten carried away, for a time, with watching television:  all.the.time.  Prior to which, I filled my mind with good (and, not good) writings.  By the grace of God, I will have more discernment of what I read.  Oh, I just love sitting in a bookstore, or a library, surrounded by literature!  I used to be a librarian's assistant at school, and seriously contemplated going to school to get a Library Science's degree.  Alas, I did not.  And, no, I cannot recount the Dewey Decimal System for you.  And, yes, I do enjoy separating non-fiction and fiction; biographies from autobiographies; and, of course, alphabetically.  I also enjoy categorizing them, according to their function.  Have I started that up, yet, in my new abode....Not quite.  Does that make me strange?  Well, I just look at myself as being "peculiar."  I do believe that God says something about that, somewhere in the New Testament. ;)
**I do hope you are enjoying this series.  I pray that they are edifying to you, and encouraging you to find all the things for which you can thank the Lord.  I do hope you consider joining, as I do so enjoy celebrating in others' praises!  It is a glorious thing, to praise the Lord, together!  Will you not join?  It need not be elaborate, unless your heart so desires, for the glory of God.  Sometimes the simplest things, are the most profound.  Elaborate, simple, a mixture of both, giving praise to God is wonderful!  If you would like to join me, please write a post, akin to this one.  Then, share the link in the box below.  If you do not have a blog, please share your thanksgivings in the comments section below.  I look forward to hearing your praises!**

Graced Simplicity

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

He WILL Finish It

     I love the new verse, at the header of this blog.  I purposefully chose this one.  I wanted a constant reminder, of whence cometh my confidence.
     I know I have a lot of growing to do.  There are so many areas of my life, that need refining.  I have not  "arrived."
     So often, I have taken it upon myself to live as God wants me to live.  I try to go at it, in my own strength.  I am incapable of the strength I need, whereby I walk with Him.  I am incapable of living as I ought, in my flesh.  Try as I might, I will fail.
     Daily walking close to the Saviour.  Daily being fed by His word.  Daily going to Him, for the grace I need to walk with Him.  Christ Jesus is my strength.
     Christ does not expect me to do it on my own.  He expects me to rely totally upon Him.  He expects me to be "...Confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:", Philippians 1:6.

Sheep Reposing Dalby Bay Isle of Man
Basil Bradley

     Ahh, sister.  Are you confident in Him?  Wherein lieth your confidence?
     Do you see yourself as trying to trust Him, but are failing at everything?  I have been there.  It seems that every time I purpose to obey His word, I utterly fail.  Utterly fail.
     I go to Him, with a head hung low.  I feel as though He has just got to be exhausted with me.  Then, He reminds me:

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"  Philippians 1:6

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."  Hebrews 4:15, 16

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."  1 Peter 5:7

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness...My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:"  
1 John 1:9; 2:1

And, lest I forget the heart that Christ has for me, all I have to do is read these verses:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:  and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  
Matthew 11:28-30

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
Matthew 23:37

"And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them:  and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,"  Mark 9:36

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.  And they parted his raiment, and cast lots."  Luke 23:34

     I am ever reminded of the incredibly tender heart that my Saviour has.  Yes, I know He is supremely, entirely, holy.  Yes, He is absolutely just.  Yet, He is completely, utterly, amazingly, tender.
     These verses, and a whole lot more, remind me of His heart.  Since trusting in Him as my Saviour, I have had access to that heart.  Even before I was saved, His heart was to see me born again: that I would be spared a devil's Hell.  What compassion.
     I need not hang my head low, when I approach my Lord Jesus Christ.  Yes, I am ashamed of my sin.  Yet, I need not hang my head low, as if He is disgusted with me; as if He would be done with me.  Nay, His love for me is eternal.
     I can go to Him, when I err, knowing that He pities me.  He loves me as a dear child:  that sometimes needs a chastening hand.  Yet, even in His chastening, there is love.  It is never done with an evil motive.  Always as a Father loving His daughter:  

"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence:  shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous:  nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."  
Hebrews 12:6-13

     Not always are we being refined by chastening, though.  Sometimes, it is the trials of life, tribulations, persecutions, that grow us as the Father desires:  

"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."  
1 Peter 1:6-9  

     Peter also says, in the second epistle he wrote:  

"And beside all this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."  
2 Peter 1:5-8

     So, whether it be chastening, it is for our good.  If we are suffering for our faith in Him, it is to bring Him great honour.  Just as the apostles who were consistently, and constantly, persecuted for their faith, and rejoiced to be counted worthy of such honour, may we look at it that way, too.  Granted, we are not apostles.  We are women:  wives, mothers, widows, childless, sisters, friends...But, that does not mean we have not been given opportunities to bless His name in our lives. Just by obeying what the Lord says for us to do and be, (as seen in Titus 2:3-5, for one example), we remove the opportunity for God's name to be blasphemed; and, in turn, give great opportunity to have His name glorified!  

Where is our strength for that ability to obey:  It is in trusting Christ, and not our own understanding.

     So, we failed in submitting to our husbands, (or, if unmarried and at home, our parents), what do we do?  We seek Christ, admitting our sin.   We seek His grace to forsake that sin.  We also seek His grace, to submit as He wishes.
     We failed at using our time wisely.  What do we do?  The same as the previous paragraph states:  confess, forsake, and ask for grace to do right.  
     We failed at _________________.  What do we do?  As the hymn goes:  "Trust and obey..."

     It is all about Christ.  Oh, how worthy is He of our love and devotion!  Though we fail, He never has, and never will.  When our hearts are towards Him, and not just our lips, He can do so many marvelous things with us!
     His ways may seem overwhelming, but, they are not; when done in His strength.  His ways may seem ridiculous, but, they are not.  They just happen to go completely contrary to the ways of the world.  
     When we have tender hearts in His hands--those beautiful, nail-scarred hands--we will get to witness Him working in us, through us, and with us.  It may not seem much, in the eyes of the world, or the worldly, but, it is much to Him!  And, you know what?  The relationship just gets sweeter as time passes.
     Do not fret, dear sisters.  I know the weariness.  Yet, take heart.  God has us in His hands:  Those marvelous, loving, nail-scarred hands.  Just trust Him.  Satan, this world, and others may want us to fear, doubt, take the responsibility all upon ourselves.  They may mock us, scorn us, ridicule us, and/or more.  Do not give up, or give in.  Do not trust in the arm of the flesh.  And yet, if you do, remember that Christ is our Great High Priest, who is approachable, and who advocates for us with His shed blood.
     Keep your eyes on Him.  When times are really tough, for whatever the reason, just keep trusting Christ.  Let Him be your first love.  Let Him control your heart.  He will never abuse it.  

The Garden of Gethsemane
Edward Lear

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"
Philippians 1:6

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