I am abundantly blessed! I know this because I’ve just spent some time reviewing my journal. It’s the time of year to prepare the annual Christmas letter. So reviewing some of the blessings and ways I’ve seen God’s hand has been such a wonderful reminder of His providential love and care.
For several years I’ve kept a journal in a planning calendar that gives me just enough space to fill in thoughts for each day. Usually I don’t miss a day unless there are some health issues that keep me from it. There are days where the praise of seeing God’s hand at work just flow on the page. And there are days where I haven’t “seen” God, but I know He is providing for my needs. Thankful for a “warm furnace on a cold day, a bowl of hot soup, energy to exercise, or medicine to help improve lifestyle through chronic illness.”
However there was a period this year where I went from mid-May to July of not journaling. Some of this was because we were abundantly blessed to spend 5 weeks with our active 7 year old granddaughter who took up a lot of time. But most of it was a time of introspection, frustration and anger at God for “not being there,” at least not in the way I wanted Him to answer my prayers and show Himself to me. There were several big changes and losses that had happened from January on. I just wanted God to “give us a break” when it came to health, finances, relationships, etc. It seemed like we were living on a perpetual rollercoaster.
In retrospect I realize I didn’t want to write things down on paper that I was grateful for or ways I’d seen God because I was mad at Him. I was angry that God, Who is in control of all things in my life, was allowing these things to happen. During a time of vacation and rest with friends’ who live on a lake, I did a lot of thinking and praying about why I was so angry at God. I realized that wasn’t how I wanted to continue living. One of the first ways to change that was to pick up my journal and start noticing the blessings again.
Thoughts began with the simple things like “air conditioning, a bed to sleep in, and granddaughter cleaning up”. But quickly came the “see Your hand guiding me toward words of encouragement.” Things didn’t automatically get better because 3 days after starting the journaling, I had news that the meds to help the RA symptoms were potentially damaging my liver, and so had to change meds once again. But this time I stayed focus on the blessings. The first week back to journaling ends with “For the blessings of seeing people worship you – How Great Thou Art!”
We have a great and awesome God. We are abundantly blessed to have God’s Word to fill us, refresh us, encourage us, and draw us back to Him.
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one—for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:31-39
Thank You God, I am abundantly blessed that You do not leave me nor forsake me even when I turn my back on You in anger. You continue to hold out Your arms for me to come back to You. Thank You!
Abundantly Blessed by God ~ Faye
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. www.Biblegateway.com
I had the privilege of teaching the high school Sunday school class this Sunday. We looked at an introduction to the Apostle’s Creed. I was reminded that this was and is used as part of our baptismal form today. The pastor says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” And an adult member says “I believe.” There are many churches and many denomations of believer throughout the world that confess the Apostle’s Creed:
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places. © 1987, CRC Publications, Grand Rapids MI. http://www.crcna.org. Reprinted with permission.
I was reading 1 John 5:1-12 this morning and was once again blessed by John’s reminder that, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God.” We BELONG to Him. Is there anything more comforting? This world is full of stress and concerns. But we have this assurance: no matter what we may face out in the world, we belong to God. We are held in His grasp and nothing can snatch us away from Him.
I am so blessed by the Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 1 in a statement – My only comfort in life and in death is that I belong, body and soul, to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
Praying you feel the blessing and comfort of belonging to God ~ Faye
I was reading 1 John 4:7-21 which focuses on – God is love, God’s unconditional love. When we are filled with His love, we have to share that love with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can’t keep it to ourselves.
As I was reading and reflecting on verses 17 and 18, I was filled with thoughts of what a wonderful blessing to even think of let alone imagine being the bride of Christ. When I read, “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear.” All I could picture was a honeymoon night where a couple comes together for the first time – somewhat shy, with anticipation but fully in love. That love overlooks the body faults and blemishes. Being the bride of Christ, I will be able to BOLDLY and CONFIDENTLY approach the judgment day because God sees me through LOVING EYES and the GRACE of Christ’s blood shed on the cross. He doesn’t see my sinfulness. I can’t imagine what it will be like to be in the ultimate experience of unconditional love, but I am SO READY! Come, LORD Jesus, come quickly!
The real focus of those verses are very challenging, at least to me. Mark 6:31-35 tells of Jesus talking to a crowd of people when His someone said His family was outside to see Him.
Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then He looked at those around Him and said, “Look, these are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and my sister and my mother.”
After reading that, I have to admit I have a large family in Christ that I need to be loving unconditionally. That includes loving some who have hurt me deeply. I need to surrender to God, seek His forgiveness, follow His will and leading. Then filled with His unconditional love, turn to others and love the people who are my family in Christ. I’m so grateful through God’s grace, forgiveness and love, He can change any heart – including mine.
In just a week and a half we will begin the Advent season. The anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth and looking forward to His coming again are exciting. These thoughts fill me with longing. But then I look at verses 20-21 – “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.” I realize it is really easy to get excited about anticipating Christ’s return, without looking at the responsibility of changing me. I love God! I can get lost in worshiping and glorifying God. But if I really LOVE GOD, I need to be showing this openly to my brother and sister in Christ.
I like the notes from my study Bible on our love grows more perfect (v. 17). It doesn’t mean flawless, but mature and complete. It doesn’t mean I will be able to love perfectly and completely unconditionally as God. However, as I mature in my relationship with God, God’s love transforms me into the person He wants me to be.
Praise God as I grow in my love of Him, my fears are set aside for judgment day. I mature in my love for my family in Christ, and I eagerly anticipate the day I am taken as His bride in heaven.
I ENJOY singing And Can It Be by Charles Wesley, particularly the last verse:
No condemnation now I dread, for Christ, and all in Him, is mine! Alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine, bold I approach the eternal throne and claim the crown through Christ my own. Amazing love, how can it be that You, my LORD, should die for me?
Enjoy the wonderful blessing of knowing we can BOLDING approach the throne of God through His Grace and LOVE!
God’s Abundant Blessings ~ Faye
I saw a glimpse of His working in someone’s life today and was so blessed. This person has struggled with being hurt and angry and unable to forgive the callous acts of some people. From my perspective, I’d say the person was definitely justified by their reactions after being falsely accused of misdeeds. But I saw first hand God’s grace and peace working through that person as they were kind, compassionate and caring to some of the individuals who had spread lies and rumors about them. The incredible thing is this person is not a professing Christian. God was answering my prayers for this person’s life, and they were seemingly oblivious to them. Fortunately, God wasn’t.
How often have I prayed for this person? Almost every day for the past several years. Have I seen God answering those prayers for opportunities to share my faith, witness that person be changed and transformed by the saving grace of Christ – not yet. Some days it seems so strange to continue to pray for them when God doesn’t seem to allow them to hear His call. But God is so good. When I least expected it, basically while the person was in the very presence of his enemies, God blew me away by the transformation I saw in this person. The person volunteered to be of assistance in the future if needed, answered questions to help the individuals proceed, and best of all, left the meeting calm and filled with a peace that they would not normally have had given the circumstances. Even more surprising, I was there as a friend and hadn’t spent time specifically praying for the meeting today, yet God answered previous prayers for healing and blessed several people.
Psalm 77:11-14 says, “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old. I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your might deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your might among the peoples.”
I’m praying and hoping I remember this day of the LORD’s deeds for I saw His transforming power. It has given me renewed courage and strength to continually pray for this person’s faith and relationship with God. It has encouraged me to continue to pray for a wayward loved one. Everything is in God’s timing, not mine. Even though I don’t see an answer to my prayers right away, God hears them, and in His perfect time, He will answer the prayers of a persistent heart. I encourage you to think about God’s deeds in your life from today and in the past. Write down a few of them. Share them with others to encourage them in their walk of faith. Tell your children of the ways God has blessed you. Help others remember the mighty deeds of the LORD.
God’s richest blessings ~ Faye