Tuesday, July 16, 2013

All He has Done for Me

I have been so convicted lately to be so thankful for all the Lord has done for me.  It all started towards the end of this school year when I began reading a book called A Thousand Gifts.  In it, this woman, who is diagnosed with terminal cancer, realizes she'll never get to see and do all she wanted to before she dies.  She's in a deep state of depression when a friend gives her a dare to find 1,000 things in her ordinary life that she's thankful for.  She begins to live in this constant state of thanksgiving and is overwhelmed with everyday beauty that we simply miss because we are just too busy.  As the saying goes, we can't see the forest for the trees.

My Bible verse in my header is another verse that I've been saying over and over in my head.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything GIVE THANKS; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (emphasis obviously mine)

Rejoice always - not just when things are going good....but when things are bad....even really bad.  That's hard to do, folks.  Extremely hard. Rejoice as I watch my sweet aunt be eaten up by cancer?  At least I have this time to spend with her and she's not taken abruptly without warning.  See, it's hard.  I believe like Paul said that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him.  So, I will rejoice in the valleys and pits of life because I know my Redeemer and I know He'll see me through.  I am reminded to walk by faith, not by sight.  This world can be an ugly place, but we are called to love one another and I pray that I do a better and better job of that each day I'm alive.

Pray without ceasing - How many excuses do we throw around for that one?  Too busy, running late, had to work overtime, house needed to be cleaned, just too tired when I finally went to bed.  Hold up.  I'm too busy living the life that God gave me to even utter him a simple thank you for waking me up this morning?  I just can't believe that's how He envisioned it.  Or how about when we are going through those low, low points and we are angry with Him.  He still tells us to keep praying.  He can handle it.  He made us, so he's not surprised by our emotions.  But this is the kicker for me - I have to be very careful that when things are going SO GOOD that I don't get caught up in forgetting to communicate with my Father.  In the past I've had the tendency to get what I want and think I can take it from here, thanks God!  Whew, it feels good to come clean and admit that.  I have been praying so hard for the last year that I will never do this again.  I need Him.  Every second of every day.  I saw a quote last year right after my miscarriage that said, "When it's hardest to pray, pray harder."  That has always stuck with me.

Give thanks in everything; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  Did I just discover God's will for my whole life?  I pray every night for His will do be done in my life and to help me set aside my will.  Is it really that simple?  I think so.  Give thanks in everything - like when you get a flat tire on your way to work or your best friend really hurt your feelings or you just found out your baby died?  Everything, really?  I have to be thankful for everything?  Yes.  Thankful for what He gives and what He takes away...BECAUSE He causes all things to work together for our good.  Wow.  My commentary in my Bible says, "People are naturally happy on some occasions, but a Christian's joy is not dependent on circumstances.  It comes from what Christ has done, and it is constant."

When I finally figured out that happiness is based on circumstances and circumstances are constantly changing, I finally gave up my desires for "happiness".  What a glorious day that was.  It took me a loooooong time to realize that and it's something I face daily, but what peace I have in my heart knowing that nothing is going to rain on my parade.  My desire is for joy and that comes from God.  That's never going to change.

I've been reading the Bible in chronological order in a 90 day plan.  I just finished day 54 today.  In every reading, God tells His people to not forget all He's done for them.  That really stood out to me and made me reflect on my life and all He's done for me.  I don't even know where to start - the blessings are so numerous.

I can honestly say that He has caused every single thing that's ever happened in my life - from my darkest sinful moments to my most enlightened experiences - to work together for good.  He is getting glory and that's what matters.  I have not lived a straight and narrow life and those of you who knew me during my high school and college days can attest to that.  But He never gave up on me.  He was with me all along, loving me unconditionally, constantly trying to reach me.  It literally took Him reaching into the depths of a pit to finally grab me.  Hallelujah for that glorious day.  It forever changed my purpose in this world.  I had to come to the end of me, as our Pastor put it.  My goodness doesn't lead me to God.  It's HIS goodness that calls us to Him.  Amen! 

I cry tears of joy when I think of how He's held me and lead me along these 27 years.  Things definitely haven't gone my way and thank God for that - literally.  His plan is SO much better!

Our Sunday School teacher challenged us to reflect on what God's done for us in our lives and my challenge is for you folks who read this to do the same.  For some of you, it might be really easy.  For others, it's going to be really hard.  Just trust Him and know that He really does cause all things to work together for good.

XOXO


3 comments:

Elise said...

Girl, thank you for writing this. I am kind of in a low place right now for several different reasons and I needed to hear this.

Also, that verse is going up on my mirror as a daily reminder.

Steve Finnell said...

CALLING ON THE NAME OF THE LORD?

What is the meaning of calling on the name of the Lord? Many assume that believing in Jesus and saying a form of a sinner's prayer constitutes, calling on the name of the Lord. The problem with that theory is none of the conversions under the New Covenant support that assumption. Not one time is anyone ever told to believe and say the sinner's prayer in order to be saved.

The apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost quoted the prophet Joel, Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (NKJV)

The apostle Peter preached the first gospel sermon under the New Covenant. Peter did not tell the 3000 converts to believe and say the sinner's prayer.

Peter preached the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He preached Jesus as both Lord and Christ. When they heard this they asked Peter and the rest of the brethren what they should do?(Acts 2:22-37) Peter told them what to do. Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(NKJV)

How did the 3000 on the Day of Pentecost call on the name of the Lord and become saved?
1. They believed that Jesus was both Lord and Christ.
2. They believed that God raised Jesus from the grave.
3. They repented. Repentance is a change of heart. Repentance means to be converted so that God may forgive your sins. Repentance is to make the intellectual commitment to turn from sin and turn toward God. (Acts 3:19, Acts 2:38)
4. They were immersed in water (baptized) so that their sins could be forgiven.

How did the 3000 on the Day of Pentecost not call on the name of the Lord?
1. They did not say a sinner's prayer.
2. Not one person was asked to pray for forgiveness.
3. Not one single man was told to be baptized as a testimony of his faith.
4. No one was told that water baptism was a just an act of obedience.
5. No one was informed they were saved the very minute they believed.
6. Not one person was told that water baptism was not essential for the forgiveness of sins.
7. Not one person was told to be baptized so they could join a denominational church.

Jesus said he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. (Mark 16"16) Jesus did not say he who believes and says a sinner's prayer shall be saved.

YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search, steve finnell a christian view.

Carrie Louise said...

Elise, you are SO welcome! I am thankful that it was able to reach you! Praying everything is okay!