He has dealt bountifully!

“I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

~ Psalm 13:6 ~

Thanksgiving Day is often the time when everyone posts their “thanksgiving lists”, but after reading the above passage and meditating on it, I realized that every day should be a day that we post our thanksgiving lists! While Psalm 13 starts out with despairing words like “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”, it ends with the triumphant words of a man who put his gaze on God who had truly blessed him.

All believers in Christ face hard times, trials, and difficulties, but we are still encouraged to “come into his presence with thanksgiving” (Psalm 95:2a).  As followers of Jesus, we have numerous things to be thankful for, because He has dealt bountifully with us! As I was meditating on this verse this morning, I came up with a list of things that I’m thankful for, and want to share with you all.

  • “But God, being rich in mercy…” -Ephesians 2:4. I, too, was lost and dead in trespasses and sins. I, too, was a child of wrath. I, too, lived in the passions of my flesh. But God, being rich in mercy and love made me alive in Christ. This truth alone thrills my heart to think of this kind of unending mercy and extravagant love!
  • “You were ransomed… with the precious blood of Christ” -1 Peter 1:18-19. I was not ransomed with perishable things, but with the precious blood of Christ, my Savior!
  • I am now a slave of righteousness – Romans 6:20. Before salvation, my whole desire and passion was to please Satan. Enslaved and under his bondage, there was no joy in my heart. The thing Satan called “freedom,” the impulses to do whatever I desired, was actually slavery. And now I am enslaved to Christ- having true freedom by the grace He gives me to obey His Word!
  • God’s ever-hearing ear – Psalm 4:3. What a comfort and delight to the heart to know that all those prayers, tears and silent cries are heard by the Father.
  • The faithfulness of the Lord that endures forever – Psalm 117:2. When believing and relying on the Lord to answer promises and to keep His own, the faithfulness of the Lord is an ever-constant comfort. There will be no promise that God breaks, and there will be no child of His that He will ever lose.
  • Those who keep watch over my soul – Hebrews 13:17. Every Sunday I am reminded of how grateful I am for the leaders/elders that the Lord has placed over me in the Church. They are the ones who spoke to me the word of God (Hebrews 13:7) and keep watch over my soul (Hebrews 13:17).
  • The local Church – Romans 12:4-5. How thankful I am for the body of believers that the Lord has placed in my life! Praise the Lord for a local Church to gather with weekly to encourage us onto God and to worship the Lord with.

Time would fail me to write of all the ways that the Lord has dealt bountifully with me, so here are just a few. How has He dealt bountifully with you?

“Mighty to Save” | Encouragement from Isaiah 63

I am amazed at how such small phrases in Scripture can bring such encouragement to the soul! I was recently reading in Charles Spurgeon’s devotional on the phrase “mighty to save.” In Isaiah 63, the Lord describes Himself this – Mighty to Save. Let me share an excerpt, which I thought was humbling, encouraging and motivating.

“Christ is not only “mighty to save” those who repent, but he is able to make men repent. He will carry those to heaven who believe; but he is, moreover, mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them. He is mighty to make the man who hates holiness love it, and to constrain the despiser of his name to bend the knee before him. Nay, this is not all the meaning, for the divine power is equally seen in the after-work. The life of a believer is a series of miracles wrought by ‘the Mighty God.’ Believer, here is encouragement. Art thou praying for some beloved one? Oh, give not up thy prayers, for Christ is “mighty to save.”  You are powerless to reclaim the rebel, but your Lord is Almighty. Lay hold on that mighty arm, and rouse it to put forth its strength. Does your own case trouble you? Fear not, for his strength is sufficient for you. Whether to begin with others, or to carry on the work in you, Jesus is “mighty to save;” the best proof of which lies in the fact that he has saved you. What a thousand mercies that you have not found him mighty to destroy!” -Spurgeon, January 14th

I was humbled reading this because I can look back at my own life- a life caught up in hypocrisy trying to look good outwardly to others while inwardly I knew I was full of selfishness, unkindness, hatred to God and  His Word and full of dead works. I know I was that hardened sinner that wanted nothing to do with God’s Word or His Church. I know that I was that sinner that longed for my own glory rather than God. I longed for nothing more than to look good to others. And yet, through all the pride and filth, the Lord was mighty to save even me! Praise God for His marvelous work and power to bring me low!

I was encouraged with this section of Spurgeon’s writing, because it reminds me again (and let me never lay this truth aside as insignificant!) that “nothing is too hard for God” (Jeremiah 32:17). There is no one too hard for God to save. There is no one too far gone for Him to call to Himself. There is no one too dead for Him to bring to life. I recently witnessed the life of someone radically changed by the power of the Gospel – someone who would have even recently said that they would have nothing to do with God. When I hear their story, it encourages me that I serve a God Who is mighty to save!

And lastly, I was motivated, because I want to see more of God’s mighty power in the transformation of lives! Spurgeon says it well: “You are powerless to reclaim the rebel, but your Lord is Almighty. Lay hold on that mighty arm, and rouse it to put forth its strength.” I can’t change a life, but I can pray for God to change a life. I can’t convict someone of sin, but I can pray that God’s Spirit would come into their life to convict them with Truth. What a joy to see hardened sinners come to know the Lord! What a delight to call that God- a God “mighty to save”- as my own God! May we all be found faithful in fervently praying for sinners that desperately need Christ.

God, mighty to save – let that truth bring you joy and delight today!

My Theme Verse | Part 2, 2017

In my last post I shared about the tradition that I started to pick a passage each year to really meditate on and pray over. It has encouraged me each year to have something specific to be seeking the Lord about. And now I’m here to share my passage for 2017!

I’ve recently been memorizing in the book of Hebrews and have come across so many excellent truths inside! How can you not sit in wonder at Hebrews 1? God has spoken to us through His Son – Jesus Christ! – while the men of old only had the prophets to hear God’s Word. Or, what about Hebrews 3? Jesus is called the apostle and high priest of our confession and has far more glory and honor than Moses ever had! In Hebrews 9, we are told that Jesus shed His own blood to purify our conscience from dead works! Praise the Lord for these truth-packed chapters!

In light of all of that, I knew that my theme verse for this year had to come from Hebrews. In the past year, the Lord has started to teach me a lot more about faith, promises, waiting on Him, and diligence in my Christian walk. What better passage to sum all those ideas up than Hebrews 6:11-12?!

“…And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

After these verses, the chapter continues with the miraculous story of Abraham. The man who waited 25 years to see God’s promise fulfilled to him. He had to wait. He had to have faith in God’s character and word. He had to believe. And because of all that, this verse was written of him:

“And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.”

Abraham was not passive in his belief toward God. He even had to go to God and tell Him of his unbelief (Genesis 15), and asked that Ishmael would live before the Lord. Believing the promise might have not been easy, but oh, what a glorious thing when all was fulfilled! And what a glorious, though maybe hard, journey to rely on the Lord for a specific promise!

With a new year ahead of us, I pray that the Lord would use this passage in my life dramatically. I want to have earnestness in my walk with God. Jesus called us to come, die, and carry a cross, not to come and live our lives with comfort and ease. I want to have “full assurance of hope until the end”. I don’t want to fall into sluggishness. I want to imitate those men and women of the faith who came before me.

And yet, I recognize at the root of it all – God must be the one who works. I can’t form these things in myself. I can’t just change myself overnight. God must do it. And what a blessed thing because God knows what is best. He knows exactly what joys and trials I must encounter to teach me these things. And through it all, He will give me the strength and endurance I need to face all that He brings along. And through it all, I realize that it all ties back into my last post of trusting in the Lord! Relying on Him, that He, in His sovereignty, knows what is best for me as I learn these lessons.

“…whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

My Theme Verse | Part 1, 2016

A couple years ago, I started a tradition with a friend to pick a theme verse/passage to really focus on for the coming year. We normally choose a passage that has stood out to us the past couple months. Throughout the year, we would talk and share with each other all that the Lord had been teaching us from our passage – whether a new insight, struggles or victories we had seen.

Last year my verse was Proverbs 3:5. While it almost seems cliché in Christian circles – printed on journals covers, bookmarks, card designs, etc. – I came to realize at the end of 2016 that “trusting in the Lord” is not just a simple concept. It is not something that that someone decides to do, and then it naturally happens in a person’s life. As I learned through the year, trusting in the Lord is a huge topic. It permeated so many areas of my life – actually, every single one of them. Meditating on this has opened my eyes to the utmost necessity of giving all over to God, believing that He can carry all my cares, burdens, plans and ideas much better than I ever could.

Something I noticed that started to happen was that in my Bible reading each day it became normal to look for verses that specifically tied into my theme verse and characteristics of God that especially encouraged/challenged me. For example, verses on having God be my help really motivated me to make sure that I wasn’t relying on myself or trusting in myself to carry things through.

“My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. ” -Psalm 121:2

And verses that talked about God being faithful or sovereign, encouraged me that He was never going to forget me or not carry through on something that I had trusted Him about.

“…the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD!” -Psalm 117:2b  

I like to have a theme verse because it gives me something to pray throughout the year and to see how the Lord is working in my life in a specific way. At the root of it all, I want to know God more. So I urge you as you start a new year – make it your resolve now to seek God and to know Him more. If finding a verse that God seems to be teaching you about will motivate you, then believe it and pray for God to form it in you this coming year. And may you grow in your awe and joy of God in light of seeking His face!

In my next post I want to share with you all my passage for this year. I’m excited about all that the Lord will teach me through it!

Happy 2017, friends!