Sunday, July 21, 2013

Boxes of His Faithfulness

At times it can be fairly overwhelming to see God's faithfulness in your life.

This summer I am in the middle of a move. The first leg of that move is completed my apartment was successfully boxed away (a few weeks ago now). As I packed up my belongings, I was amazed.

When I moved to Arizona two years earlier, the only things I really brought with me were a desk, a couch, books, clothing and some linens. In the time that I lived there, God really blessed me with people giving me furniture, especially from different family members. And then it seemed like dishes and all the things I could use in a kitchen were also added to the mix along the way.

As I began to pack away these possessions, I was reminded at the timely provision of the different items. Where they came from, how they blessed my heart and allowed me to bless other people from the apartment. I remember finally feeling settled in February, and it was about a week later when I was unexpectedly asked to move for my training with The Navs. But as I packed away these boxes with a bit of sadness to leave this sweet place, God so gently reminded me of His faithfulness. So even in the monotony of taping, packing and taping more boxes, I just kept telling myself, "this is a box of His faithfulness."

Then a few weeks later I was reading through Genesis and 21:1 stood out to me. It says, "Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised."

As I moved to Arizona, God gave me promises to pray for myself and for others. I have had the joy of seeing His grace and his faithfulness as He has done what He said! I can't help but think of Sarah and the way that she laughed at God's promise to her, in her old age and still barren, but God in His grace is faithful, even when we feel like He has promised us and asked us to trust Him for the impossible.

Genesis 23:1 tells us Sarah lived to be 127 years old. That's old! I'm only 26 at present and can't imagine all of the ways Sarah saw God's faithfulness in annuals of her life!!

So as my earthly possessions are boxed in storage until September, all labeled and categorized, I can't help but think of my life in the same way. I have so many boxes of God's faithfulness stored away in my heart! Boxes labeled "His tangible provision," boxes of "His abiding Presence," "His direction and guidance," "His discipline and rebuke," "His abundant grace and forgiveness." Boxes of "answered prayers," "opportunities to serve Him and help others know Him," and the boxes just keep piling up!

I praise you, Jesus, for the lavish love that you pour out on us, for we are the sons and daughters of God! Lord, what joy it is to pause and remember all the ways You have led me and to know Your great faithfulness to me! May I be quick to declare You faithful! Quick to remind myself of the ways You have provided! You didn't spare your own Son, but God, You gave Him up for us all! How will You not graciously give us all things?! I rest in this truth. I thank You for providing a ransom for me! I am secure in Your grip.

Friday, July 5, 2013

4th of July - Blythe

I stood in line for the free Popsicle with my sister-in-law and we both had the odd feeling of being in our home town and knowing so few names of the people we faintly recognized. I guess that's what time away will do. 

As the program started my patriotic heart swelled and I began to get a bit misty eyed. A sweet six year old sung "You're a Grand Ol' Flag" in honor of her dad, who is currently deployed. Then the names and ages of the 19 firefighters who died in Prescott earlier this week were read, while the melody of "Amazing Grace" played. After a moment of silence and the national anthem, the show was to begin. And before a single firework went off I was thankful, thankful to be in Blythe, thankful for the small town warmth.

The fireworks began. Michael whispered from behind, "Don't you think there will be fireworks in heaven?" "No, we won't need them. We totally underestimate the glory of Jesus." "You're right." And as  the array of fireworks glittering through the night sky and the blanketing booms of the exploding color bombs continued, I was so excited - caught with the hope of the new heaven and earth bursting forth some day, the power of Jesus's resurrection fully unleashed!

As Frank Sinatra serenaded us with "God Bless America" my heart was led to prayer. 
Lord, would you return us to our former glory? To be a great sending nation? To see your gospel go to the ends of the earth? A nation's glory truly comes from declaring and demonstrating God's glory. 
O that we would wake from our slumber and walk in the light! 

I carry my sweet, tired, semi-scared, nephew back to the jeep. He grips so tightly to me. And in the back seat on the way home he holds my hand from his car seat, as leftover fireworks boom overhead. What a wonderful place to be! What a feeling to be looked to as a place of refuge by someone so meek and timid, and to confidently assure them of their true safety.

We celebrate freedom on the fourth of July, freedom from unjust oppression. I think of Jesus who came in the flesh, lived perfectly though tempted in every way, who died in my place to set me free from the power of sin and death. I rejoice! 

Thank You, Jesus! May I be strengthened for the work ahead! May I help others know You and the freedom that the truth of Your gospel brings! Lord, we are ever desperate for You! Lord, so many are fools and say from their hearts, "there is no God," but we know it is not so. You are God, You reign even now! And we ask for You to turn hearts to seek You! Lord, strengthen Your bride for the task You've commissioned her to do, and wake her to walk in Your light! How beautiful You are, Lord!