Friday, March 30, 2012

God's good plan...

Exactly 14 years ago God gave me these verses:

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you," says the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

And I've held onto the hope of those good plans for all these years!

This morning God showed me something that I felt like I was supposed to share... it was a different perspective on the brokenness of losing a child and the pain of the years since. It was one of those moments that was tough but powerful at the same time.

As I was doing my devotions this morning, I was praying about how I don't want to get off the path of His will. I feel like we have finally hit some of the "good" we have been waiting for and I don't want to risk losing that. I don't want to get off track like before and experience more pain & heartache. I was questioning what took us down that hard, broken path and again... taking on some of the blame & responsibility that I know isn't mine to carry (but it creeps up every now & then anyway). I was telling Him how I just want to follow Him always because His way leads to life & restoration and when I follow my own path... it leads to death & destruction. I was asking Him to show me His path and to speak to my heart.

I pulled up the Biblegateway site in preparation for a study we're doing at church and I read the verse for today:

He was despised and rejected - a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for His own sins! (Isaiah 53:3-4)

I felt like I should keep reading so I pulled out my Bible and picked up at verse 5 to the end...

But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him... the sins of us all.

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. Unjustly condemned, He was led away. No one cared that He died without descendants, that His life was cut short in midstream. But He was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man's grave.

But it was the LORD's good plan to crush Him and cause Him grief.

Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have many descendants. he will enjoy a long life, and the LORD's good plan will prosper in His hands. When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of His experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. I will give Him the honors of a victorious soldier, because He exposed Himself to death. he was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

So many times we think that the good plans God has for us are easy and rosey... not hard and difficult.. hard and difficult equals bad in our minds... I want the good... I don't want the hard times... so in order to get the good then surely that means I have to stay within God's path (& His good graces).

"But it was the LORD's good plan to crush Him and cause Him grief."

When I read those words... the Lord spoke to my heart that the brokenness of our lives... was a part of His good plans for us... (tough but powerful words to hear) As a result of being crushed and walking through deepest grief... Gerad has the pleasure of enjoying a long life in the presence of Jesus! As a result of being crushed and walking through deepest grief... we will have many descendants when we share our story of God's redemptive grace... As a result of the LORD's good plan... as a result of this experience... many will be counted as righteous when they believe in Him.

Just as God was glorified in Jesus' death & resurrection... LORD be glorified in our brokenness and restoration! LORD let glory & honor come to You because You have restored our future and our hope!

LORD... be glorified!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Morning devotions...

This morning... God has reminded me of His goodness & grace.
This morning... God has reminded me that He is my refuge & strength.
This morning... God has reminded me that His unfailing love surrounds me.
This morning... God has reminded me... to be still and know that He is God.

It began this morning with studying Psalm 11:1 - "In the LORD I take refuge...." There was a word study on the word flee and I was reminded of how in James 4:7 it tells me that as I humble myself before God... I am able to resist the devil and that the he will flee from me! The LORD is my refuge & strength! I sent an email to my small group saying, "I would rather humble myself before God, stand firm in HIS Truth, and take refuge in HIM rather than running away from & being scared of the devil. My Mighty God was and IS victorious over any schemes the enemy can throw my way!" As I take refuge in the LORD... He will strengthen me & empower me to resist the enemy.

Then I was taken to Psalm 32 where I was reminded of the joy of being forgiven of sin & cleared of guilt. I was reminded that when I held onto my sin... I wasted away and my strength was all gone. But then... as I confessed my sin, as I stopped trying to hide & deny my guilt... the LORD forgave me and my guilt is gone! The LORD is my refuge... my hiding place & He protects me from trouble. He surrounds me with songs of victory! I am so thankful that the LORD promises that He will guide me along the best pathway for my life. He promises to advise me and to watch over me. He promises that His unfailing love surrounds me as I trust in HIM. So today I will rejoice in the LORD and will be glad! I will shout for joy because He has set me FREE!

Then I was reminded that when I try to rely on my own strength... things are much harder... harder to give up & let go of... harder to understand... harder to be victorious. When I lean on & rely on GOD... He gives me the strength I need... to overcome... to understand the next step to take... to be victorious! Again... I would much rather humble myself before Him... take refuge in Him... and rely on HIS strength because when I try to rely on my own strength... I fail miserably. When I lean on & rely on GOD... He helps me be Victorious & Free!

God is SO good & today... I'm thankful for His grace! I'm thankful that He is my Refuge & strength! I'm thankful that His unfailing love surrounds me on every side! I'm thankful that I can lean on & rely on Him and HE is all that I need! And I'm thankful that He reminded me to just be still for a few minutes & to know that HE is God!