Singing His praise and a taste of spring already!

“Bless the Lord, O my soul!

O Lord my God, you are very great!

You are clothed with splendor and majesty,

covering yourself with light as with a garment,

stretching out the heavens like a tent…

He set the earth on its foundation,

so that it should never be moved…

O Lord, how manifold are your works!

In wisdom have you made them all;

the earth is full of your creatures.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;

May the Lord rejoice in his works,

who looks on the earth and it trembles,

who touches the mountains and they smoke!

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

May my meditation be pleasing to him,

for I rejoice in the Lord.”

Psalm 104:1-2, 5, 24, 31-34

May you hear God’s creation singing His praises this week, and

May you sing as long as you have your being!

Japanese Magnolia outside of “The Bakery”

Mississippi State University

(…if only I could live and serve here on this campus forever ! )

February 8, 2012

Trusting with all of your heart.

What does it mean to trust in God with all of your heart?

I once read that the reason why we struggle so often with trusting God is this: we don’t truly know God.  So let me ask this very loaded question next, who is God?

With each passing day, I feel as though I learn at little more about who God is.  Every experience I’ve had–whether good or bad, easy or hard, joyful or painful–has revealed some aspect of His character.  Had I not gone through those seasons though, I probably wouldn’t have learned those particular traits of God’s nature.

The temptation to focus on what’s going wrong or  what is stressing us out, well, can be very tempting.  But rather than focus on what we do not know–what could happen, what could be painful, what troubles could come, etc.–we must focus on what we do know: God is always good.

  • In times of need, we know that God is the Great Provider.
  • In times of doubt, we know that God is the same yesterday, today and for forever (Hebrews 13:8).
  • In times of joy, we know that God is the one to be praised.
  • In times of great pain, we know that, one day, God will hold us in His lap and wipe away our tears  (Rev 21:4)
  • The list goes on and on…

——————————-

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh.  Is anything to hard for me?”

Jeremiah 32:27

——————————-

God is able to do abundantly more than what we can even imagine (Ephesians 3:20)!  Because we are children of God (as believers), we are automatically placed in a position of dependence and trust on our Father.  He knows and understands more than all that we as humans could ever comprehend (Isaiah 55:8).  That’s not an injustice; rather, it’s another opportunity, another reason to make us learn to trust Him fully.

Praise be to God for His patience and compassion with us!  We can be pretty stubborn to stick to our own ways and to trust in our own selves, but I pray that we will be reminded of the truth in Psalm 127:1–“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”  We must RELY on and TRUST God in everything.

May your heart be filled with trust today!  Know that the Lord loves you, and remember the question that He’s asking you in Jeremiah 32–“Is there anything that’s too hard for me?”

Certainly not!  So…

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,

Sarah 🙂

He will teach us how to love.

In the last post, I wrote that a new lesson God is teaching me is that I must be…

free from people

to be

free for people.

But what does this look like in our lives?  Each time that we are doing something for or speaking to someone else, how do we know if we are doing it out of a grudge or out of love?

The truth is that on our own, we can’t always tell the difference.  For example, if my dad has hurt my feelings through something he’s said, it’s hard for me to know how to respond to him.  Should I say something?  Should I just now say anything at all?  How should I act?

Through many mistakes and things that I shouldn’t have said or done–oh the wonderful days of college, right?–I’ve come to realize the truth of Isaiah 55:

“Seek the Lord while he may be found;

call upon him while he is near;

let the wicked forsake his way,

and the unrighteous man his thoughts;

let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,

and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,

declares the Lord.

For as high as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:6-9

As the broken human beings that we are, we will mess up.  Even if we try so hard not to, we will never get it all right or even get ourselves to together!  Here’s the thing though.  We can either stop here OR we can learn from Isaiah!

The beauty of God’s relationship with us is this: it’s active.  We aren’t supposed to be able to understand everything and just do the right thing.  If we could, what would be the point of God sending Jesus to this earth to interact with us, to be a human too?  God has created us for a relationship, and relationships involve communication.

The Lord’s thoughts and His ways certainly are higher than ours, but He wants to teach them to us.  He wants us as unrighteous men to give up what we think is best and to adopt God’s way.  Even though we don’t naturally know how to love as Christ did, the He is always near to us.  He wants to show compassion when we fail and to teach us how to love through the way that He loves us!  How incredible is that? wow, pretty amazing …… 🙂

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you (James 4:8).  He is abundantly compassionate, and He will teach us how to act, think, speak, pray, hope, have faith, etc.

He will teach us how to love.

To be free for people

Whenever I go back and read my journals, I usually can find a common thread of what God has been teaching me.  One journal may mainly be about praying while another is about learning how to rejoice in suffering.  Over the past weekend, I now know the next lesson that God will be teaching me: that I must be free from people to be free for people.

Luke 9 has always been a hard chapter of the Bible for me to read.  Here are verses 61 and 62.

“Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.’  Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’ “

On the outside, this request seems innocent enough, doesn’t it?  I always thought that Jesus was being extremely selfish to not let them do these things and still be his disciple.  But here’s the catch… This person had been following Jesus.  He, as well as many others, heard him preach, and they probably even saw him perform miracles.  In all of his glory, they saw him and the work that the kingdom of God entails.  Basically, they saw God and instead of falling flat on their faces and worshipping, they turned away.  They made an excuse.

Today, let’s pray that God will help us see the excuses that keep us from dropping everything–past pain, fears, grudges, hopes–and cling only to God’s love.  Today, let’s pray that He will teach us what it means to be free from people to be free for people.  It’s a lesson that, if we truly learn it, will change the way we love and serve always.

Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,

Sarah 🙂