Tuesday, November 30, 2010

His garden.

my daily devotion for yesterday included this verse from isaiah...
isaiah 58:11
the Lord will guide you always, he will satisfy your needs in a sunscorched land and will strengthen your frame. you will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

i love this verse,
this metaphor was so striking to me- to think of us as His blossoms, His garden, that He cares for always. we always get sun and we always get rain, the perfect amount of each so that we are alive and growing strong, but only because of the Lord, we would be dead and shriveled in a dark field if it wasnt for His PERFECT care and attentiveness. 
like in life- we live day to day. i try day to day to glorify Him, because i know He keeps up with my care, with sun and water, day to day, never forgetting to water me, never not having time to tend to my needs as a blossoming flower in His garden. 
so how do i tend to fall short and not give Him what He deserves, He cares for me ALWAYS and perfectly, satisfying my every need. He builds us up to be strong but reliant on Him. He is the only reason i could ever be anything at all..
in all circumstances He is there, He never fails.
but i fail. i fail to give Him all that He gives me. 
i need Him. i need His perfect care to survive.

my neediness is extreme in this way. but first i must acknowledge that neediness.
i have been shown my need for Him more and more since starting college- being placed in times when i realize i cant do it without Him..at all! nothing is because of me- everything is because of Him!
He takes us on these journeys where we find our strengths to be of absolutely no value and our weaknesses to be so obvious- and in these journeys He shows us our need for Him, that we must rely on Him because He is all we need. 
in these journeys we grow closer to Him, relying on Him in EVERYTHING- and that is where our faith grows. in needing Him we grow closer personally & intimately with Him.
i love this image- the Lord is my gardener. i know i am nothing without Him, and i know i NEED Him. 
this brings peace- peace in the knowledge that while we are beings that need so much- we have a Lord that will always be there and will always give us everything we need. 
He never fails- this IS peace. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

give thanks.

usually Thanksgiving makes us think about all the 'things' we are so thankful for in this world, our possessions, our family, our friends: all wonderful blessings we have received undeservingly from our God. but in my recent near thanksgiving services my heart has been hit by thanksgiving in greater ways.
-what comes to mind first when i think about thanksgiving is:
-1 Thessalonians 5:18-give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
-or Ephesians 5:20- giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
-i am to give thanks to God for everything, always, in all circumstances. i somehow got along thinking that it was that simple, although that isnt simple at all, it is much more complex than this..
-i was humbled over the last week, hearing about thankfulness in a new light. while i am quick to be thankful for my family and my house and my school and my materialistic blessings, i spend just as much time being thankful for those as i do my one and only blessing: my salvation. from which all other blessings are rooted from.
-God sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for me and all of my sins, that is AMAZING, and always will mean just as much as it did the first time i heard it. that is the gospel- and to be thankful for all the other 'things' i must be thankful for this.
-in Colossians 3:15-17 it talks about how we are to be thankful:
-Christ should rule your heart, then your hearts will be set on things above and this is when your minds are set on things above and not on earthly things.
-if your heart is right with God your actions will follow
-col. 15 says "let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. and be thankful."
-we should forgive as we have been forgiven, and live in gratitude because of all you have been forgiven for. we were shown forgiveness in its greatest way-the cross. and because of that we have so much reason to be thankful. in reality that alone is our reason to be thankful.
-the cross reminds us of what we should have received, but instead Christ received for us on the cross. any horrible day on earth, when we let this fact slip past us and we feel as though things cant get worse, is still far better than hell.
- and we deserved hell, but because of the cross i live!
-if we dont remember this it is easy to become ungrateful.
-col. 16 says "let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts."
-grateful hearts are crucial to discipleship.
-remember what we deserve and what we got..and how we got it. now how cant we be grateful??
-its as if you are in court and the judge declares you not guilty, but you are. (Christ paid your debt) but then the judge comes and hugs you...and thats the gospel- we are forgiven!
-col. 17 says "and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
-do ALL deeds in the word of Jesus
-your actions should be grateful.
-you got better than you deserve. so you should live in complete thankfulness for this life and complete forgiveness.

we deserve none of this, and although we are taught to believe in this world that we deserve a great family, friends that are always there for us, a warm house, food...in reality NONE of us deserve any of what we have. we deserve nothing-but we are given so much, while we have done absolutely nothing to deserve life-we are given it..
so let us live in gratefulness of our forgiveness, of our life because of His death. Thank you Jesus!

-in Luke 17:11-19 as Jesus travels to Jerusalem he passes through the border between Samaria and Galilee and goes through a village where ten men with leporasy meet him, he cleanses all of them.
-while all of the ten men were healed, only one returned to Jesus, throwing himself at Jesus' feet thanking him.
-this is also called "a Lepers thanksgiving"
-Luke records this event so we might learn vital things about discipleship.
-we were all healed and still fail daily to run back to him with thanks, i get so caught up in this world that i live with belief that i was blessed and go on my own way..how selfish and ungrateful.
-i have taken you for granted Father and i pray that you can forgive me, i pray that you may put thankfulness in my heart, so that it may show in my life, so that i may speak it, sing it, LIVE it. so it is a visible instead of silent representation of who you have healed.

thanksgiving is a special holiday for us to come together and be thankful as a family in Christ and give thanks, but the truth is we dont need a holiday to be reminded of the gospel, the gospel is our lives, we should live everyday in gratefulness for this life we dont deserve and all of the 'things' we dont deserve- will we be the nine lepers who went on with their life their own way after they were healed by Jesus OR will we be the one leper you was healed and fell to his face at jesus' feet in thankfulness to him?
-the cross reminds me of what i have to be thankful for- the death for my life- my salvation-my forgiveness. for i deserved nothing and was given life.

thank you.