God’s Love Running Over with Mercy and Grace

Many struggle to find their identity.  What is it about life that makes us question where we belong?  It’s easy to compare ourselves with others—and don’t we usually measure our weaknesses against the other person’s strengths?  As believers, we know God has a plan for us both individually and part of His Church.  We long to find abundant life.  The hard part is to find our way.

Proverbs 31:10-31 shares a picture of a purposeful, satisfying life.  The  woman (also an example for men!!)  in this chapter enjoys freedom, fullness, sweetness and the radiance that draws others to Christ. Her duties are a lot like ours:  doing the mundane tasks of daily life, working to earn income for the family, and caring for those closest to us.  If you look closely you will see that it isn’t easy for her, either.  She is up early and staying up late to finish her tasks.  She must manage on a budget.  She struggles with spreading her wings to earn a living and yet remain true to her family responsibilities.   Yet through all this it would appear that she is a person after God’s own heart who enjoys a relationship with God that is vital, growing, intimate, real and personal.  Exactly what each of us wants.

No matter what your circumstances are right now, God’s love is running over with mercy and grace for you.  He longs for you to find your identity in Him and to establish yourself in the destiny of His plan for you. Sometimes the wounds of our past hinder this discovery.  Reach towards His love and let Him show you the treasures that await you.  Let Him bring healing to your life.  Then ask Him to show you the first step toward your goal and make that tiny, baby step.  You can do it!

His Stepping Stone ~ Debra Hunter

his.stepping.stone@gmail.com

Guest Blog by Barb Christensen

Thank you, Barb Christensen, for sharing your insights with us.  Our prayers are with you and your husband during this difficult season.

Recently I have had to move my husband, my rock, my lover, my companion, my provider and my best friend to an assisted living home due to advancing dementia. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do and we are still reeling under the ongoing aftershocks of this great, life changing tsunami.

But I have finally, after 53 years of wedded bliss, figured out what marriage is all about. It’s about watching the one you love, (the one you stood with before God and ‘this company of witnesses’ and pledged to love through the good times and the bad times until ‘death do us part’), fade from you and becomes a shell of the person he was and your heart bleeds and you love him more today than you ever even knew was possible so long ago.

Through the ups and downs of life, the good and bad times, the well and ill times, the distracted and uncomfortable times, the warm and the cold………you love because you promised you would. Then one day the bottom drops out and you finally figure it out.

A warm, comfortable feeling envelopes you as you realize the fulfillment of the vow, and you have survived and, flooded with a half century of memories, you wouldn’t change a thing! God is so good and He honors vows kept with His provision and His peace. I am looking forward with joyful expectation to what God will do and how He will lead through this all consuming flood.

    “When you  pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the fire kindle upon you. For I AM the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…..”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Isaiah 43:2-3a Amplified Bible

 

The Right Man for the Job

The King planned an important mission.  It would mean the rescue of many, a life saving venture to bring great glory. This mission would answer prayers, bring deliverance and reap eternal rewards.

“Whom shall I send?”  His voice boomed over the valleys.

“I’ll go, my Lord,” Strength said.  His chest puffed with importance and he flexed his biceps in excitement. “Choose me.  I’m in the prime of life.  I promise not to fail.”

The King shook his head.  “You’re not quite right for this assignment,” He said. “There are giants to slay in other parts of the kingdom.”

“I’ll go,” Religious said.  She folded her hands in piety and gazed downward in an attitude of respect.  “You heard my vows.  You know I will go wherever you send me.”

The King shook his head and smiled.  “I have need of you in other places,” He said tenderly.  “This job is for someone else.”

“I’ll go,” Intelligence said.  He clutched several diplomas and wore a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows.  His hair stood out in disarray, and wire rimmed glasses rested on the tip of his nose. “I have degrees in logic and administration.  I’ll put together a plan to achieve your goals quickly.”

The King shook his head. “Thank you, but I have need of you in other places.  This mission requires different skills.”

“I’ll go,” Bravery said.  He curled his hands into fists and took the posture of a boxer.  “Bring it on!  I’m not afraid of all the devils in hell.”

The King shook his head again.  “Your bravery is needed elsewhere.  I have need of someone with greater courage.”  He scanned the valleys, hills and streets of the cities.  He knew just the person for the job.  His eyes rested upon an ordinary looking man named Simple, well past the prime of life, slightly balding with a middle-aged paunch.

“Will you go for me?” the King said.  “I have need of you.”

“Me?”  Simple said. “You’re mistaken, my lord.  I’m too old!  You know my failing health. You can’t possibly mean me.”

“My son,” The King said, “The strength of man is a useful gift, but it often turns into pride.  My kingdom is built upon humility and the wisdom that comes with age.”

“But I have failed you many times,” Simple said.  “I have broken many promises to you.  Surely you are mistaken.”

“This time will be different,” the King said with such tenderness that Simple’s eyes welled with tears.  “I will go with you each step of the way. You will not go alone.”

“But I lack education and training,” Simple said. His voice cracked and tears filled the grooves in his cheeks. “I am afraid.  Surely there is someone better suited for this task.”

Simple’s expression of anguish caused tears to well in the King’s eyes, too.  How much the King loved him.  Their relationship had grown over years of early morning prayer times.  The King knew the man’s heart, knew his dedication and genuine sweetness.   When the King looked into the man’s heart, He saw all the attributes He himself had planted within him.

“Your weakness is your greatest treasure,” the King said and placed his hand on Simple’s shoulder.  “It forces you to depend upon Me alone.”

“Are you sure?” Simple said.  It seemed the King’s touch left a burning mark on his shoulder, not unpleasant, but hot as fire.

“It is in weakness that My strength is revealed.”

They spent the rest of the morning strategizing for the mission.  “You must not neglect our early morning sessions,” the King said.  “I will give you marching orders for each day.  As you follow them, you will achieve the goal.”

“It sounds too simple,” Simple said.  He thought for a long moment and then grinned.  “I think I’m your man.”

“I know you are, Son,” the King said.  “We’ll do it together.”

 

He Does Not Thresh Forever

Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.  When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually?  Does he keep on breaking up and harrowing the soil?  When he has leveled the surface, does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin?  Does he not plant wheat in its place, barley in its plot, and spelt in its field?  His God instructs him and teaches him the right way.  Caraway is not threshed with a sledge, nor is a cartwheel rolled over cumin; caraway is beaten out with a rod, and cumin with a stick.  Grain must be ground to make bread; so one does not go on threshing it forever.  Though he drives the wheels of his threshing cart over it, his horses do not grind it.  All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom.

 Isaiah 28:23-29

 Yikes!  Sometimes the load seems heavier than usual, and it’s easy to think God allows hardships without reason. I know I’m not alone.  The above passage tells how a farmer handles different crops.  Growing up on a farm, I remember how my father harvested the grains.  Each crop was handled differently.  The corn was picked, the grain threshed and the hay baled.  It seemed the grains were handled as uniquely as the products made from them.

In the same way God deals with the individual characteristics of his children.  He knows we are fragile, he knows we are wounded and broken.  In perfect wisdom, he deals with us as carefully as a farmer harvests the crops on his farm.  He does not thresh forever!  Though trials may come, we can rest in the knowledge that He will never allow us to go through more than necessary to yield the fruits of righteousness in our lives.  Oh, consider the depths of love he has for each of us.

 

 

 

DON’T FIGHT THE HAMMER

“This is how the lamp stand was made:  it was made of hammered gold—from its base to its blossoms.  The lamp stand was made exactly like the pattern the Lord had shown Moses.” Numbers 8:4 NIV

It’s not my imagination!  I feel the pounding blows of a hammer!  A big hammer.  Blows that leave bruises and shake my foundation.  Blows that hurt.  Blows that knock me out of my complacency and force me to focus on what really matters.  But at the same time, these blows are carefully aimed to create an object of beauty, a work of art.  They are not cruelly delivered without purpose.  Every blow is measured against the template of His loving plan for my life.

I want to be that golden lamp that reflects His light. I want to be better than I am, more beautiful than I think possible.  I want to be such a reflection of Jesus that people notice.  If it takes more hammering, I’m willing.  I’ll endure the process that makes me more like Him.  I’ll not fight the hammer that transforms my life into the pattern the Lord has chosen, that breathtaking work of art that speaks to my world.

How about you?  Are you fighting the hammer?

Dear Lord, please give us wisdom to see what you are doing in our lives and help us cooperate.  Amen