When you are praying about something that is important to you and you need answers. And the Bible App scriptures of the day come in this succession, I think God is reminding me to trust, pray, wait, keep my hope in him, and give him praise while he works it all out.
 
troubled heart

John 14:1
– Let not your heart be troubled

Promise

2 Peter 3:9
– The Lord is not slack concerning his promise

dream big

Ephesians 3:20 – [pray] unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above

 
still

Psalms 46:10 – Be still and KNOW that I am God

thanks

Psalms 105:1
– Give thanks unto the Lord.

While it may be a coincidence that the scriptures have come in this order at this time, but God can speak to the heart in many ways. Thankful for peace in an unknowing time.
alone with God

As we draw to the close of another year, I like many, have been reflecting on the past year and making plans for the next. As I look back there are areas that I am pleased with and some places that I am not so much. Some areas where I regressed and still more that there have been improvements. I see room to grow. I see how I stunted my growth with bad habits. I see changes that need to be made. I see an opportunity to make a change, to be a new creature.

I read the scripture this morning in 2 Corinthians 5:17,

Therefore is any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Many times we liken this change from old to new at first salvation. There is a crisis moment, Jesus comes down, and a change is made. It is used to encourage someone that had experienced much sin and because of God’s grace, Jesus sacrifice, they no longer have to partake in the same activities.

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But today, as I was reflecting on the new year, I saw it as an opportunity. Even as saints of God, we can become a new creature. If we aren’t satisfied with our service to God, our health, our habits, our attitudes, our outreach, our kindness, our relationships, our “fill in the blank”, we can make the change.

We can have a crisis moment in the middle of our salvation. Salvation isn’t stagnate,  it is an evolving status. We can draw closer to God. We can make better choices for our health. We can change our habits and attitudes. We can be more kind and loving. We can forgive. We can improve our relationships… We can change.

This year, starting today, I vow to myself and to God, changes will be made. I am not looking at an easy road ahead. I have some habits to break and new ones to make. I have some flesh to crucify. I am some time to give. I have some reaching out to do. I have some inconvenient love to show. I have some early nights to bed and some early mornings to rise. I have better eating choices to make. I have some physical activity to be endured. I have some better house keeping practices to instill. I have some listening to do. I have some purging of clutter. I have some better time management skills to work on. I have some ground to conquer. I have some victory to gain.

This isn’t just a New Year’s Resolution that is forgotten and unfulfilled, it is a promise. These are goals. I have written many down. And as more come to me, more changes that need to be made, I will write those down to. I am a work in progress, allowing God to mold and shape me into the person he wants me to be.

When I woke this morning I turned to my phone and Bible app to get some thoughts for the day. My app has a daily scripture widget that I subscribe to. Today’s scripture was Psalms 116:1-2. As I read it and the rest of the chapter, I had a marginal relation to the passage. But it was in the past. Before when I cried to the Lord he heard me, but not now. Not that he doesn’t hear me now, but that I was crying to him. It wasn’t a “yes, this is God now” agreement with the scriptures. I read through, thought a bit, went back and read a couple a second time, searching for something to meditate on through the day and nothing really settled. I said a quick prayer for help this day and went on my way. 
This is how it has been lately. A struggle to read and pray, feeling a loss of connection, mostly out of duty even though a desire is there. An overwhelming sleepiness in the morning that hinders an early rise, a couple quick scriptures and prayer as one goes through the daily routine. 

But who can thrive or survive off of crumbs? You can’t physically or spiritually. In all honesty, I have always struggled with getting up early enough in the morning to set aside time for God. I have justified it in many ways over the years. While I have admired those that do and longed for it, the many times I have made a point to change, it only lasts for a short period of time. 

A while back I asked a friend to check on me. To ask how my morning devotions were going. To hold me accountable. I got the question today. I didn’t have a good report. I was honest, they have been awful of my own fault. I thought on it through the day. Why is it so difficult to get up? It’s not like the last broken 30 minutes of sleep are all that great. And while I don’t have a good reason, I can say that I’m ready. 
Ready to set time aside. Ready to deny myself for “just a couple more minutes” . Ready to go deeper. Ready for the victory.  You see, I spent some time tonight with God. I listened to a couple old messages. Words from the past on the man with the line, holding it out there for us to come through. On victory,  knowing the enemy, whose side you are on and why you are fighting. And on the surface these don’t have much to do with devotions, they clarified things in my mind. I went to prayer, I want God to draw out that line and I’m headed to meet it. I’m ready to go step by step deeper until I’m Swimming. I know whose side I am on. I know what he has done for me and I know who,  what and why I am fighting. God is so good. 

So when I read Psalms 116 tonight, it was deep. I could say “yes,  this is God now” I cried unto him and he heard me. He made a way, he listened, he showed mercy,  he forgave, he gave power. From searching for current relevance to a soul amen,  what a difference 16 hours makes. . . 

Psalms 116:1‭-‬19 – I love the Lord , because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.  Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.  Then called I upon the name of the Lord ; O Lord , I beseech thee, deliver my soul.  Gracious is the Lord , and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.  The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.  Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.  For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.  I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.  I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:  I said in my haste, All men are liars.  What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?  I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord .  I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people.  Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.  O Lord , truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds.  I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord .  I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people,  In the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord .

Last night, during Bible Study, we continued in Jonah, a deeper look into Chapter 2. In class, these scriptures were compared to a soul in sin. How lost and desperate they are for help. Their search for God, that spark of hope, the surrender to him and their deliverance.

But this wasn’t my experience. I made the decision at a young age and throughout time to serve God. I wasn’t bound and miserable in sin. I was 8 years old.MEDION DIGITAL CAMERA

To me, this passage resembled a saint, overwhelmed by life, in the depths of grief, going through a valley, a time where you can’t feel God, a season of waiting, a trial of faith, CRYING out to God. Looking to him to him for help. Through the discussion and thought it struck me that, with slight alteration (removing the part about the fish’s belly and being spit up on dry land) it could be relocated to the Psalms. It reads:

Jonah 2: Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly,out-of-the-depths

 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

mountains Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.

hope When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.how-to-increase-the-value-of-your-relationships-22-638

 And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

I wonder if Jonah read the Psalms, if the words of David resonated with him as he searched his soul, as he desperately went before God, taking responsibility for his actions, and agreeing to follow through with his vow. His purpose of fulfilling God’s will for Nineveh.

Last week, out of the depths of my soul, I cried unto the Lord. I was overwhelmed and felt like I was drowning. I recognized that I could not continue on my own strength. I did not have that ability. Through a scripture, a reminder to rely on God’s strength, his help through the day, gave me something to hold on to. A hope that this is for a reason, that it won’t be forever, that his strength and grace are ALWAYS sufficient. christ-strengthens-me

man-walks-on-the-water-near-the-beach-silhouette-at-sunset_rrr1ryvd__S0000

At the close of another Annual Fellowship Meeting, I think back on the services and reflect on the gold nuggets that I am taking away from it. I always look forward to this time of year, a time of reflection, a time for a deeper consecration, a renewing in my soul, a fresh touch of desire. But all of this is of no use, unless it is put into practice. It becomes an emotional experience of the past, just a good time, if the challenges aren’t accepted and pursued. This is my desire, that it not be just another great meeting, but that it be a stepping stone that draws me closer to God.

  1. No relationship can survive with out forgiveness.
  2. If you are not willing to constantly forgive, you will become bitter.
  3. Do we want God to forgive us as we forgive others? There is a reason why he says to forgive others as he has forgiven us.
  4. Unforgiveness incarcerates the victim with no effect on the offender.
  5. Who art thou Lord? Daily ask who God is. The answer, I am Jesus, will meet every need, answer every question.
  6. We need to have a for sure knowledge of who he is.
  7. We need the Spirit – to kill the flesh, to pray when we can’t, to be a witness, to quicken the body. We NEED the Spirit.
  8. He rescued me from what could have been my end. Being saved young and not having experienced the vast world of sin, my end could have been a mess, full of heartache and sorrow. He saved me from what could have been.10514-Great-Is-Thy-Faithfulness
  9. He is a faithful Father, and GREAT is his faithfulness to me.
  10. Why should I feel discouraged? When I know that he watches me, just as he watches the sparrow.
  11. We need to be willing to let the spotlight of God shine on us and not always shift the focus to someone else, he that is without sin cast the first stone.
  12. Face your need.
  13. Allow Christ to see your failure. Allow him into the intimate part of your heart, where your hurts are. He will take them and make something great.
  14. Be willing to God with God to places you have never gone before. Go out into the deep.
  15. Be concerned about stagnation. If you aren’t growing, moving up, experiencing more in salvation, if it is no longer a benefit to you, Be very concerned. Seek God.
  16. Don’t bring up the past. Focusing on the past hurts, problems, divisions, will cause you to miss your blessing.
  17. Don’t be afraid when your “child” is dead. Don’t listen to what others say, believe and ask Jesus into the intimate parts of your house, so he can bring healing to your need.
  18. Jesus says, no matter what you have heard, I can do something with this impossible situation.
  19. I’m still HOLDING ON.558309
  20. When God draws the line, it is up to us to measure to it.
  21. God wants to do good, are we willing to let him use us?
  22. We need to be more intimate with God. You need intimacy with him in order to bring forth new converts.

A long list. A lot to remember. But changes don’t have to happen over night. We do what we have known to do. Take additional time in prayer and devotion. Be quick and willing to forgive the little slights each day. Open our mouth and let God fill it.

God help us, help me, to be your child. To hear AND obey.

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