At times I have approached the Word of God—whether reading, hearing, or studying it—feeling fearful. I feared I could never do enough or that maybe I couldn’t please God or that I would find that I was a hopeless failure. That kind of thinking interfered with the benefit or growth I might have had.
But fear lies. The truth is that Jesus took care of my failures at the cross. Another truth: I could never be good enough to earn God’s love, but God loves me anyway. And another: I’ve received God’s gracious gift of salvation and have become His child. Furthermore, God has given me His Holy Spirit. He is a spirit of power, love and a sound mind (1 Tim. 1:7).
Because of these truths, I can look at Scripture in the faith that says God loves me and wants to show me His ways which are life-giving. When I use that filter—the faith filter—in my reading, hearing, and studying of God’s Word, I can learn to really live.
“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life (John 6:63*).”
Thank You, Lord, that Your Spirit gives us life. You are the Vine. We are the branches. We draw our nourishment from You. (John 15:4-5) Depending on my own thinking and doing what looks good to me has never benefited anyone. I see that more as I trust You more.
Jesus, You said Your words are spirit and life. I want to fill up on Your words. But I see that if I want to partake of the life they give, I must also put those words into practice, doing what You say and persevering in that. [“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”–Matthew 7:24-27* (Emphasis mine.)]
So if I find out what You said, write it down, and even memorize it, I can still miss out on the life You want me to have. To enjoy Your abundant life, I need to do what You say—obey You. I need the power of the Holy Spirit working in me to do that. And that is just what You promised!
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13*).
Oh thank You, Lord, that Your Holy Spirit helps me today to feed on Your Word and do what it says. Amen.
(*Scripture quotes are New Living Translation.)
I failed; no, messed up; no, blew it—well, actually I sinned.
Nevertheless, I can go boldly to God’s throne of grace to receive mercy and help at the time I need it (Hebrews 4:16). I can receive mercy from God because of Jesus Christ.
When I repent and confess my sin to my Father, He casts my sin behind His back (Isaiah 38:17). Then He doesn’t turn around and look at it, so He doesn’t see it anymore. I can’t see it either because He is too big for me to see around Him.
Father, I’m so grateful, I think I’ll dance.
Jesus is the giver of living, life-giving water. It is free to all who will come to Him. There’s no discrimination—everyone who wants to can come. His life is real, fulfilling and satisfying—vibrant, wonderful life now and forever. Jesus offers, but He doesn’t force us to accept. Each one of us must choose. Will we go His way or our own way?
Revelation 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who hears this say, ‘Come.’ Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.”
John 4:14 “But those who drink the water I [Jesus] give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
I’ll come God’s way, through the blood of Jesus, following and obeying Him. That is real life. Nothing else comes close.
(Both Scriptures New Living Translation)
When my husband and I hiked in Kings Canyon, we got off the trail on one of the hikes. We weren’t sure when or how we departed from the route shown on the map, but we got into progressively rougher terrain and ran into more obstacles. We wondered, “Is this really the trail?”
Finally we decided to turn around, ask God’s help, and try to find our way back to a place we recognized. When we found the trail again, we thanked God, went back to the trail head, and looked for a hike that was more clearly marked.
As a follower of Jesus, I sometimes get off the path where He is leading. I find the going rougher and the obstacles greater as the Holy Spirit keeps prodding me to return to the right way. I’m so glad God doesn’t leave me alone, but instead calls me back into His light!
I used to get bogged down in hopeless regret when I made a seemingly big mistake or had grievously sinned. First John 1:9 assures me that God forgives and cleanses me as soon as I confess my sin and turn back to Him. However, I can’t go back in time and live those days the way God had planned. That righteous path is blocked for me.
Recently, thoughts on Jeremiah 18:3-11 encouraged me about that. There God says He can do with the people of Judah as the potter did with the pot he was making. It didn’t turn out as he had hoped, so he returned it to a lump and made a different vessel.
“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand (Jeremiah 18:6 New Living Translation).”
Because of God’s goodness and mercy, He plans a different route for me to go where I can honor and glorify Him again. That righteous path will be just as wonderful as “Plan A.” Not only that, “Plan C” would be just as marvelous as Plan A or B. Likewise, His plans D, E…Z, AA, AB, and on to infinity will be equally amazing. In God’s multifaceted, infinite wisdom, He makes each one of His “paths of righteousness” perfect.
I don’t want to fail or sin or in any way damage this vessel God is working on. But I do. And God, with His unlimited creativity and grace still has great plans for me to take part in as soon as I return to Him and His way. Indeed, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3).”
Goodbye, Hopeless Regret. Hello, Joy in the Lord!
© Tricia Opitz Nov. 20515-Nov. 2016 https://triciajots4jesus.wordpress.com/
Picture credit: –”Potter in Rabka 03″ by User:Piotrus – my photos. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG#/media/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG
http://www.sermoncloud.com/grace-bible-church/glorious-abundance/ This sermon by our pastor Randy Huddleston was especially meaningful to me. One thing he points out is that God is so generous and kind that He invites everyone to share His eternal kingdom–anyone who desires may come and drink of the living water He offers. But we come and drink on God’s terms, not our own. We “wash our robes” in the blood of the Lamb. Again, it’s God’s way not our own way.
That invitation reminds me of a song I’ve heard Carroll Roberson sing: “Without Him.” Here are the lyrics:
Without Him I could do nothing
Without Him I’d surely fail
Without Him I would be drifting
Like a ship without a sail
Without Him I would be dying
Without Him I’d be enslaved
Without Him life would be worthless
But with Jesus thank God I’m saved
Oh Jesus, oh Jesus
Do you know Him today
Please don’t turn Him away
Oh Jesus, my Jesus
Without Him how lost I would be
Without Him how lost I would be
LE FEVRE, MYLON RAE
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
Psalm 33:1 “Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord; it is fitting for the pure to praise him.” New Living Translation (NLT)
I’m troubled by disappointment sometimes. Things don’t turn out like I’d thought or hoped. People don’t do what I think is good or what I’d expected or wished.
The answer for me today is Psalm 63:3 and 5: “Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise Thee. 5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.” New American Standard Bible
Father, because Your love and kindness is better than life itself, and You lavish that on me, my soul will be more than satisfied (one translation says “satisfied as with the richest foods) even when people and things disappoint. Amen.
So many gifts from God—
I cannot count them all,
But I can make a start.
I’ll list both great and small.
How can I draw closer, Lord?
How can I love You more
And give glory You are due?
I’ll consider all I have to thank You for.
Psalm 107:8-9 “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! 9 For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” New King James Version
Yes, I do want to have a continual attitude of gratitude because of all God has done. He is truly good. I see it more and more. He satisfies my longing soul as I believe and trust Him more. He fills my hungry soul with goodness as I hunger and thirst after righteousness. (Matthew 5:6)
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “ Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” NLT
The title for this post comes from the hymn “Now Thank We All Our God” written by Martin Rinkart. A beautiful video of the hymn is on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA9cQ5X87P4 . (An ad precedes the video.)