Category Archives: God’s glory

this is my sacrifice of praise

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Let them thank the LORD for his stedfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!  And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!  They cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.  He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.  Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the stedfast love of the LORD.  Psalm 107: 21-22, 28-29, 43

I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.  Because he inclined hisear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.  The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me, I suffered distress and anguish.  Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!”  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.  The LORD preserves the simple; whin I was brought low, he saved me.  Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.  For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.  I believed, even when I spoke, ” I am greatly afflicted”, I said in my alarm, “all mankind are liars.”  What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?  I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.  O Lord I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.  You have loosed my bonds.  I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.  Psalm 116: 1-13, 16-17

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.  I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.  He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me.  God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!  My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery bests – the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let your glory be over all the earth!  They set a net for my steps, my soul was bowed down.  They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves.  My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!  I will sing and make melody!  Awake, my glory!  Awake, O harp and lyre!  I will awake the dawn!  I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.  For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let your glory be over all the earth!  Psalm 57

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world!  1 John 4:4

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful.  You adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of sufferings are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  1 Peter 5:7-10

It is the LORD who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.  Deuteronomy 31:8

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:6-8

Save me, O God!  For the waters have come up to my neck.  I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.  I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched.  My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.  More in number than the hairs of my head are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies.  What I did not steal must I now restore?  O God, you know my folly; the wrongs that I have done are not hidden from you.  Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me.  O Lord…  But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.  Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.  Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me.  Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy turn to me.  Hide not your face from your servant, for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.  Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies!  You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor; my foes are all known to you.   Reproaches have broken my heart, so that I am in despair…  Let their own table before them become a snare, and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.  Let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually.  Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them… But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high!  I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.  This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.  When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.  For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.  Psalm 69

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth ahs been given to me.”  Matthew 28:18

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:11-14

And he said to them,  “I saw Satan fall like lighting from heaven.  Behold i have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.  Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  Luke 10:18-20

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  Romans 16:20

I love you, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised and I am saved from my enemies.  He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.  He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.  They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support.  He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me because He delighted in me.  Psalm 18:1-3, 16-19

The LORD is my ligth and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  Though an enemy encamp against m, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.  For He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.  I believe that I shall look upon the goodnessof the LORD in the land of the living!  Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!  Psalm 27:1, 3, 5, 14

Oh how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you.  Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a beseiged city.  I had said in my alarm ” I am cut off from your sight.”  But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I Cried to you for help.”  Psalm 31:19, 21-22

Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts before him; God is a refuge for us.  Psalm 62:8

what part?

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over at the New Attitude website, they have posted a portion of my testimony.  In that testimony, I mentioned a spontaneous song sung by Bob Kauflin… here is a link where you can listen to the version I heard that day.

 

Lyrics:

What part of your sin did I not cover?
What part of your guilt did I not take?
You have broken my commandments again and again
But I suffered in your place.

What part of your guilt have I not removed?
And what part of your soul did I not make clean?
Through my once and for all sacrifice
I wholly reconciled you to me.

And don’t let the temporary pleasures of sin
Keep you from what I created you for.
Neverending joy and lasting treasure
In the presence of your Lord.

And I’m the One you were created for.
I made you for myself.
My plans are perfect, my timing’s perfect
I know just where you should be and go
So why would you give yourself to anything else?

For my blood has set you free
Free to worship me
Free to resist the power of sin
That seeks to own your life

My blood has set you free
For you were made for Me.
So live in the good of all that I paid for
Live in the good of what you were made for
Live in the good of the blood shed for you.

grace revisited

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tonight i went to dinner with some friends.  3 of the 5 are people that I don’t know very well… so, near the beginning of dinner, Andrew asked me to share my testimony with them.  

it seems that over the past few weeks God has brought His redemptive story in my life to my mind more than on normal occasions… whether through a post on Josh Harris’ blog or a conversation over dinner. 

when I find my heart wanting to well up with anger against another, or be unforgiving, or simply be overwhelmed with the busyiness of life and my weakness, God reminds me who I really am… the biggest sinner in the room… completely forgiven…a beloved child of God… an heir to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading… in union with Christ, the Strength in my weakness and so much more. 

Once again, I reflect on His grace in my life and am grateful.  What mercy!  To me!  amazing!  That He would chose me, save me and place me in union with Him is such a gift.  I pray for grace to never forget how amazing it truly is.

What about you?  How has God shown you grace and mercy?  What’s your story?

this would not be the way I’d have chosen

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If I had to describe this season of my life it would be with the following phrase “this would not be the way I would have chosen.”  God; however, has chosen this path for me.  He has chosen 10 months of debilitating migraines, crippling food allergies and countless nights of restless sleep.  He has chosen to give me no medical explanation or cure.  He has chosen a path formerly unknown to me, a path of new trials and pain.  

 

My Father has tested my faith over and over again, in many ways I hope never to repeat.  He has pushed me beyond my limits and right into His loving arms of care.  He has shown me my utter inability to change my circumstances, but greater still, He has shown me His love.  

 

I love God more now than before this trial began.  I know God loves me even if this trial never ends.  I plead for it to end.  But I trust His sovereign care.  I trust that He knows what’s best and that His desire is not to harm (Lamentations 3:31-33).  He is not vindictive or harsh.  My God weeps over the pains His children endure, and as one of His children, I know without a doubt that His compassion extends to me (Psalm 103:13).  He hears my feeble cries (Psalm 145:19).  He listens to my weak prayers (Psalm 61:2).  He does not condemn my questions and doubts, but instead He cares and wants me to cast those anxieties on Him (1 Peter 5:7), He strengthens me with His promises (Psalm 119:25, 28).  He comforts me that I will never walk alone (Deut 31:8, Is. 41:8-10, Matthew 28:20), that nothing can separate me from Him (Romans 8:38-39) and that others have successfully walked this path before me (Psalm 88, 27, 91, Hebrews 11-12).  

 

You see, though in my mind, this is the path less traveled, in God’s eyes it is not.  The way of salvation is hard.  The path is rough and few follow on that path of suffering.  But the joys… oh the joys are incomprehensible.  One day, I will be with my Lord.  I will gaze in the eyes of my Savior that suffered worse pain than I could ever know.  He took what I never will – separation from His Father.  I will see others, like William Cowper, who suffered for years in pain, yet chose despite all odds to praise his loving God.  Oh, I long to talk to him about his struggles… about his many nights of depression and doubts and struggling and to hear intimate encounters between him and his God who lovingly held him through each of those nights.  I look forward to meeting those who died daily for Christ, whether by a martyr’s death or in the daily fight against sin.  I want to hear how God was bigger than each horrible circumstance that men and devils created for them to endure.

 

So, in my weakness, He is proving His strength.  In my despair, He is becoming my joy.  He is fulfilling my longings and providing all the comfort my soul needs.  In my agony, He is reminding me that He bore my eternal agony so I could know joy.  I praise Him for His steadfast love and compassion.  I rejoice, as Paul (sorrowful, yet rejoicing) in my infirmities as I see more of His power displayed through my weaknesses.  And I look to Him in faith, my tender, compassionate Father that has the power to give life to this mortal body (Romans 8:11).

new mercies

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i’m grateful for new mercies every morning.  most mornings, i wake up simply longing for another 5 minutes of sleep.  and most mornings, though in my laziness, i give in to that temptation i always find myself still longing for another 5!  :(

 

i’ve been staying up too late this week… reading a new book.  The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun.  As one man stated “you may begin reading the book on your couch, but you will finish it on your knees (source).   Halfway through the book, I have found that to be true. 

 

This man, Yun suffered greatly for his Lord.  He endured many crosses of persecution.  in God’s kindness, the more I read stories like this, the more I am encouraged with the kindness and sovereignty of my God… a God that did not forget Yun in a horrible prison with day after day of torture beyond what my american mind is able to comprehend… and a God that has not forgotten me through my “light and temporary afflictions” that tend to dominate my thoughts, desires and days. 

 

Yun rejoiced when paraded through the streets as a criminal.  What was his crime?  He preached the gospel… that his hope was found in the blood of Christ.  as i’ve read of his joy, i’ve sat on my bed often thinking of the phrase “rejoice with a joy that is inexpressible.”   my faith in a powerful God, a God that restores, a God that saves, a God that redeems and calls my life from the pit… my faith in that God has seen growth this past few days as a result of this testimony.

 

specifically what has been a challenge to me was a period in Yun’s life where he was imprisoned.  He spent months with no access to a Bible, yet he recounts scripture after scripture that that the Lord used to minister to Him during that time.  I’ve been reminded again of the message from Na* this year.  I want to value God’s Words like that.  They are my life.  Yet often I look to them as mere advice or rules.  Do I treat God’s Word with such delight that it is my joy, like this servant of God, to memorize entire books of the Bible and then share them with friends?  Or do I look for my “nugget of the day”?

 

God, i pray that you would show me yet again the feast you’ve given me.  Please don’t let me be satisfied with the little “bites” i’ve been chewing on lately.  Give me more of a hunger, more of a desire, more of a desperate need.

a God of certainty

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“Wait on the Lord.”
Psalm 27:14

It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God’s warriors than standing still. There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption? No, but simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God, and spread the case before him; tell him your difficulty, and plead his promise of aid. In dilemmas between one duty and another, it is sweet to be humble as a child, and wait with simplicity of soul upon the Lord. It is sure to be well with us when we feel and know our own folly, and are heartily willing to be guided by the will of God. But wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in him; for unfaithful, untrusting waiting, is but an insult to the Lord. Believe that if he keep you tarrying even till midnight, yet he will come at the right time; the vision shall come and shall not tarry. Wait in quiet patience, not rebelling because you are under the affliction, but blessing your God for it. Never murmur against the second cause, as the children of Israel did against Moses; never wish you could go back to the world again, but accept the case as it is, and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any self-will, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, “Now, Lord, not my will, but thine be done. I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities, but I will wait until thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes. I will wait, if thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed upon thee alone, O God, and my spirit waiteth for thee in the full conviction that thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower.”

 

“Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed.”
Jeremiah 17:14

“I have seen his ways, and will heal him.”
Isaiah 57:18

It is the sole prerogative of God to remove spiritual disease. Natural disease may be instrumentally healed by men, but even then the honor is to be given to God who giveth virtue unto medicine, and bestoweth power unto the human frame to cast off disease. As for spiritual sicknesses, these remain with the great Physician alone; he claims it as his prerogative, “I kill and I make alive, I wound and I heal;” and one of the Lord’s choice titles is Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord that healeth thee. “I will heal thee of thy wounds,” is a promise which could not come from the lip of man, but only from the mouth of the eternal God. On this account the psalmist cried unto the Lord, “O Lord, heal me, for my bones are sore vexed,” and again, “Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee.” For this, also, the godly praise the name of the Lord, saying, “He healeth all our diseases.” He who made man can restore man; he who was at first the creator of our nature can new create it. What a transcendent comfort it is that in the person of Jesus “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily!” My soul, whatever thy disease may be, this great Physician can heal thee. If he be God, there can be no limit to his power. Come then with the blind eye of darkened understanding, come with the limping foot of wasted energy, come with the maimed hand of weak faith, the fever of an angry temper, or the ague of shivering despondency, come just as thou art, for he who is God can certainly restore thee of thy plague. None shall restrain the healing virtue which proceeds from Jesus our Lord. Legions of devils have been made to own the power of the beloved Physician, and never once has he been baffled. All his patients have been cured in the past and shall be in the future, and thou shalt be one among them, my friend, if thou wilt but rest thyself in him this night.

from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening (August 30th)

the faithfulness of God

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the theme of this weekend for me seems to be the faithfulness of God.  Though terribly aware of my sin and failures before a holy God, my Savior is graciously not allowing me to stay there. 

there is much i could write on this topic but there isn’t enough time to cover it all.  here are some highlights… i may expound on parts later…  to sum it all up, God has been revealing His faithfulness, and i’m beginning to see that it often does not appear in ways we’d expect.

 

1.  Friday night – singles care group…  God was evidently working during worship, especially in Wendy’s heart.  During worship Susanna went over to her and offered some words of encouragement and hope.  It was powerful to watch God answer my prayer from just a few minutes earlier.  I had prayed that He would encourage my friend… that He would speak truth into her weary heart.  He did it in a mighty way!

2.  Saturday – shopping with Wendy… at lunch, we were talking and I she began sharing with me some areas where she feels God may be moving.  I couldn’t help but laugh to find out an area He’d impressed on my heart a few months ago to pray specifically for her, was now an area that He has been encouraging her to take steps forward in faith.  Again, God is faithful.  He is sovereign and good and I was left simply to stand in awe.

3.  Sunday – lunch with Susanna… hearing of God’s kindness in answering the long requested prayer for her work was such an encouragement to me.  He has lavishly blessed her with such a clear answer to that prayer.  It is a joy to see Him displaying His faithfulness through immense blessing and joy in her life.  Yay!

4.  Sunday afternoon – coffee with Katie… sitting at Starbucks, sipping my iced doubleshot and talking about the gospel… does it get better than that?  i think not!  :)  Near the end of our time, a lady walked in and sat at a table near ours.  She was probably in her late 40s, early 50s and had beautiful hair down to her waist.  I felt compelled to simply tell her that her hair was beautiful.  That statement opened up such a door – a door I never could have imagined. 

We talked for probably 30 minutes… first about my donating my hair to Locks of Love and the delight it was for me to give to a needy child something that for me was simply an abundant gift from God.  Do I miss my long hair?  Yes.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely!  I just wish I could be there to see the joy in that little girl’s face when they finally hand her her very own wig – her very own head of hair!  Teena (the lady at Starbucks) then went on to share that she had grown her hair long for her daughter (Christy) who just passed away last month from cancer.  Teena began to share the joy in knowing she’d see her girl again one day, and the hope of the gospel that has compelled her to take each next step.

What a deep encouragement it was to me, to see this “random” conversation turn into a beautiful display of magnifying God’s faithfulness in the midst of her awful tragedy.  I was grateful to have had the opportunity to talk briefly with her.  My faith was built and greatly encouraged as a result.

there is much more I could say.  but let it suffice for now to say that I am seeing in great ways the faithful and sovereign care of my God.  though physically and emotionally, I am in a “valley” season, there is much hope.  For my Shepherd is the One leading me through each valley.  He is leading through each shadow and fear.  He is comforting my soul each step of the way.  And I can truly say my cup is overflowing as I see deeper glimpses of His compassionate, sovereign care.  He is great.  I do not doubt that care. 

Though I do not know the ways He is leading, and though I cannot see the end result, I know my Savior is my Rock.  I know my Shepherd is my faithful guide.  And I know my God has not left me alone… His Spirit comforts and protects.  Therefore I rejoice.  Because its true, I hope and look to Him with eager expectations that He will continue to reveal to me His faithful ways.

the goal

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“God’s goal for our life is not to simply make us happy.  God’s goal for our life is that we be holy.”

 

Corri mentioned this quote to me yesterday at church.  I was in Promise Land with the kids, so I missed the sermon.  Jim preached an overview / review of 1st Peter with the topic of “bringing God’s Word to Hurting People.”  Listen HERE.

After the past few weeks of unexplained physical weakness and waiting for answers from God, this sermon was very encouraging to me.  How I need the reminder to cast my cares on Him.  How refreshing to remember that He knows my weakness, and that He uses and comforts me even in spite of my weakness and failures.  What joy it brings to my weary heart that He is the One who will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish me… and that my inheritance is based on the sufficient work completed on the cross.

Thanks Jess, for your encouragement to listen to the sermon.  Thanks for your prayers and encouragement and for the way you so consistently earnestly love me. 

Thank you Jesus, for replacing my weakness with Your amazing strength.  Thank you for bearing the weight of my sin so that I could personally know your grace. 

Thank you Father for choosing not to see my sin, but for ALWAYS looking at me through the lens of the cross.  Thank you that the words “it is finished” are now placed on me, in the midst of my weakness, in the midst of my failures, in the midst of my doubts and questioning. 

Thank you Holy Spirit that you encourage and refresh me.  Thanks for giving me the gift of faith.  Thank you for continuing the work of transforming me into the image of Jesus.  Thanks that in the middle of my doubt, you bring to mind the promises of the Almighty Sovereign Triune God who is my personal Comforter.

You are Holy

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I should not be allowed

To stand before this throne

I have no works of righteousness

That I can call my own

 

No motives pure

No deeds sincere

No holiness I bring

Its only through

Your precious blood

I stand here now to sing

 

You are holy, You are holy, You are holy

I’m amazed.

 Through the cross, Lord, You displayed all

Of your righteousness and grace.

 

You are holy, You are holy, You are holy

I’m amazed. 

So I offer up my life now

Out of gratefulness and praise.

 

The day you cried It’s finished

Was the day you broke my chains

There was no way that I could pay

The freedom you attained.

 

So, I’m set free

I do not fear

Your hand of judgment now

Its with a heart of

Gratitude

I come and humbly bow.

 

You are holy, You are holy, You are holy

I’m amazed

Through the cross, Lord, You displayed all

Of your righteousness and grace

 

You are holy, You are holy, You are holy

I’m amazed. 

So I offer up my life now

Out of gratefulness and praise.

epic failure

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this week has just been one of “those weeks.”

you know the ones I mean, right?  the one where everything seems to be a mess.  and when it can’t get messier, it some how does?  yup. one of those.

 if i had to pick a theme for this week, it would be “epic failure.”  my mistakes this week for some reason have not seemed like “little” ones, rather “heroic” mistakes.  ha.  :) 

tuesday night I came home from work to make homemade spagetti sauce with tomatoes from the garden.  lo and behold, the tomatoes had simmered for too long and were hopelessly beyond hope.  after trying for 2 hours or so to doctor it up, we ended up dumping it out and saving the veggies to use with some new tomatoes. 

i cried. 

thanks Sarah, for once again, faithfully pointing me to the cross… pointing me to to the humor and hope found in that silly situation and for making me smile as you shared your story of the chocolate cake that catapulted off the counter.  :D

its been a good week at work, just long.  we are running out the production of a vehicle at the manufacturing plant where I work and I am in charge of all the planning details for the runout.  Needless to say, there’s lots to remember. lots of details to coordinate and lots of miscellaneous things that can fall through the cracks.  There was a major computer error today, and, I had no clue how to fix it.  I spent about 3 hours trying and thing just kept getting worse.  Praise God for a helpful IT support guy in Germany that was willing to stay at work late to fix the issue and reset the program!

Despite my feelings, despite my failures and despite my countless sins, my God has proven Himself faithful to me yet again through these past few days.  there seems to be nothing to cling to this week as I look around and see all my fruit in ruins on the ground, but the Master Gardener seems to still be lovingly (albeit painfully) tending the branches still.  He has surrounded me with people who have patiently loved me in spite of my sins, people who have loved me as necessary and corrected me as necessary.  Praise God for both, as they are both a valuable asset to our Christian walk (and praise God for friends He’s given me that are “friend” enough to do both!!)! 

He has given me department managers that despite my lack of experience in my new job, are thankful for me and make an effort to mention that (on almost a daily basis).  Wow.  I don’t want to forget the gift that is.  I’m very aware their thankfulness is not a result of my “great” ability to do my job (because I mess up daily) but rather is a gift from God – an instrument used by my Savior to encourage and bless me.  I’m thankful for my health.  I was able to go to the gym last night for the first time in a few weeks (just finished the body detox program that I was on for the last few weeks). 

I can see God working.  I know He will continue.  He is faithful.  He will not forsake.  I can trust in that.  When I look around and as a result of my “tree,” I see fruit that keeps falling off and lying on the ground in what seems to be a useless way, I can still thank my God for the fruit that He produces in my life.  That fruit, even the fruit that in my mind is not as “perfect” as it should be, can still bring glory to Him.  I long for my life to bring Him glory, whether that is a life of successes or a life of epic failures.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I would much rather have a life of successes.  

But I long for the song we sang last Friday in care group to be the cry of my heart:  “shall I take from your hand the blessings, yet not welcome any pain?  shall I thank you for days of sunshine, yet grumble in days of rain?  you are good when I’m poor and needy.  you are true when I’m parched and dry.  You still reign in the deepest valley.  You’re still God in the darkest night.  Oh, let your will be done in me. In your love I will abide.  oh, I long for nothing else as long as you are glorified.”