A Prayer for Thanksgiving

“Give us enough trials to keep us strong,

     enough tears to keep us tender,

     enough hurts to keep us humane,

     enough failure to keep us humble,

     and enough faith to keep us confident in You

     O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.”

~ Taken from Being Still With God, by Richard and Henry Blackaby

photo by Donna Bannister

Settle it on the Front End

I received a prayer request recently from a friend whose loved one needed prayer.  He was having difficulty believing that God could love him.  He felt that he was “too bad” and had “sinned too much”.  But Scripture tells us that God loves us and that He pursues us.  This can be a difficult concept for us to believe and understand when so much in our life is based on the conditional.  It can be especially difficult for those whose earthly father was not as loving as he should have been.

In Experiencing God, Dr. Henry Blackaby says, “The cross, the death of Jesus Christ, and His resurrection are God’s final, total, and complete expression that God loves you.   Never allow your heart to question God’s love.  Settle it on the front end of your desire to know Him and experience Him.  He loves you.  He created you for a love relationship.  He has been pursuing you in that love relationship.  Every encounter He has with you is an expression of His love for you.  God would cease to be God if He expressed Himself in any way other than perfect love!” 

Charles Spurgeon put it this way in his book, Morning and Evening:

“It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ.  He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.”  All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within.  But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.”  Remember, therefore, 

  • it is not your hold of Christ that saves you–it is Christ; 
  • it is not your joy in Christ that saves you–it is Christ; 
  • it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument–it is Christ’s blood and merits; 

Therefore, look not so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to your hope, but to Jesus, the source of your hope; look not to your faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.  We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul.  If we would at once overcome satan and have peace with God, it must be by “looking unto Jesus.”  Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession, be fresh upon your mind; when you awake in the morning look to Him; when you lie down at night look to Him.  Oh! let not your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus; follow hard after Him, and He will never fail you.   “My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesu’s blood and righteousness: I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesu’s name.”

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!

Maximus Crunk

Run! 001

I have been thoroughly captivated by Hebrews 12:1 over the last two weeks.  It says….

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Note the words the Holy Spirit has been emphasizing to me…

 “every encumbrance” — not sinful acts, although they could become sin if left unchecked…but those things (often good things) that weigh us down and hold us back from God’s best….the use of our time…certain relationships or activities that hinder our relationship with God rather than enhance.

“the sin” — We all know what outright sin is…and we’re usually careful to avoid outward ones, but what about our thought life?   Thoughts that no one sees, except the only One who matters.

“so easily” — without difficulty.

“entangles” — This word in the Greek means “ambushes” or “encircles”.

“run…with endurance” —  Merrian Websters defines endurance as, “the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity”…for example, a marathon runner’s endurance.

With all of this in mind, “let us not grow weary”, but “run with endurance”  and “imitate those (particularly those in Hebrews 11, The Great Hall of Faith) who through FAITH and PATIENCE inherit what has been promised.”  (Hebrews 6:12)

Henry Blackaby has some pearls of wisdom about “The Race of Faith” below….Read, and then RUN with it!

The Race of Faith

by Henry Blackaby

At times, living the Christian life can seem impossible, but a host of saints from throughout history provide powerful testimony to God’s faithfulness as well as to the wisdom of staying true to Him.  People have faced every manner of persecution, opposition, tragedy, crisis, temptation, and disappointment, yet remained loyal to their Lord.  You can do the same.

Scripture promises that God’s people will experience trials and tribulations, and life may be very difficult for you right now.  You may feel alone, as if no one has ever dealt with what you are facing.  Know, however, that many who have gone before you have faced similar pain and struggles.

One of the purposes of Scripture is to encourage us, and the examples of those who have gone before us do exactly that.  The Bible provides concrete evidence that God strengthens, comforts, and guides His people during hard times.  In its pages the lives of believers shout out, “God is faithful!  Stay true to Him and you will experience His gift of abundant  life.”

 “Consider the outcome of their way of life,

and imitate their faith.”

~ Hebrews 13:7b