Tuesday, January 29, 2008

As the Snow Falls...

As I was sitting in my philosophy class this morning, my attention was drawn out the window to the snow falling outside. By this time of year, I am ready to be done with the winter season and all it's cold weather and snow. But while I was watching the countless snowflakes falling this morning, the lyrics to one of my favorite songs came to mind; those of Jeremy Camp's song titled Beautiful One.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard;
No heart could fully know,
How glorious, how beautiful You are."

"Powerful, so powerful,
Your glory fills the skies;
Your mighty works displayed for all to see.
The beauty of Your majesty,
Awakes my heart to see,
How marvelous, how wonderful You are."

"You opened my eyes to Your wonders anew,
You captured my heart with this love,
Because nothing on Earth is as beautiful as You."

My most favorite time when snow falls, is when you can look at the snowflakes and they are what I like to call 'perfect' (even though, being of this world, I know that they aren't actually perfect). They are so amazing and beautiful to look at, and each one is different from every other snowflake. The number of snowflakes is infinite; you cannot possibly count them all. And the thought that no two are alike leaves me in awe and wonder. God sends down this amazing creation to fall on the Earth for all to see; and yet no eye has ever seen the fully glory and
beauty of God. And to be reminded that nothing on Earth, absolutely nothing, even comes close to the beauty of God and His majesty leaves me in complete awe of who He is, and in so, strengthens my desire to know Him more and follow Him all the days of my life.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

His Grace is Sufficient...

We live in a fallen and sin-cursed world. Even Christians are not immune from the frustrating and often overwhelming circumstances of life resulting from that curse. Christians are not exempt from experiencing heartache. But one can find comfort, encouragement, and the strength to endure from God’s words to Paul.

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” –2 Corinthians 12:7-10

God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children. He never allows Satan, or circumstances, or any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that affliction for our good. God never wastes pain. He always causes it to work together for our ultimate good, the good of conforming us more to the likeness of His Son.

God wants us to lean continually on Him for strength.

Mankind was created to be dependent upon God; physically, “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28); and spiritually, Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). God intended our dependence on Him to be conscious and continuous.

Before we can learn the sufficiency of God’s grace, we must learn the insufficiency of ourselves. “But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom. 5:20).

God’s grace isn’t given to make us feel better, but instead to glorify Him. We want the pain to go away. We want to feel better in difficult situations, but God wants us to glorify Him in those circumstances. God always gives us what we need, perhaps sometimes more, but never less.
[from Transforming Grace, Jerry Bridges]

I know that I have struggled with many of my own weaknesses in the past instead of delighting in them. It’s a hard thing to do—delight in rather than struggle through. But I’ve truly been able to look back, relate, and hold on to the statement “when I am weak, then I am strong.” Truly, God’s grace is sufficient; for all my needs.

A Verse to Live By...

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.” –2 Corinthians 5:14-15 [ESV]

I read this verse earlier this month during one of my daily quiet times, and since then I have been striving to live by it. Christ died so that I would no longer live for myself nor for the sinful ways of this world. He desires that I have a relationship with Him, and through that relationship I live for Him according to His purpose for my life.