My Jesus Cares.

(Part 7)

July 23, 2017

#237 Grace Greater Than Our Sin

1. Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,
Yonder on Calvary’s mount out-poured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Refrain:
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

2. Dark is the stain that we cannot hide,
What can avail to wash it away!
Look! there is flowing a crimson tide;
Whiter than snow you may be today. [Refrain]

3. Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe;
You that are longing to see his face,
Will you this moment his grace receive? [Refrain]

#269 There Is A Fountain (I love this song)

1. There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains,
Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

2. The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away:
Wash all my sins away,
Wash all my sins away;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

3. E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die:
And shall be till I die,
And shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

4. Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its pow’r,
Till all the ransomed Church of God
Be saved, to sin no more:
Be saved, to sin no more,
Be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed Church of God
Be saved to sin no more.


Mr. Dale gave the sermon that Sunday morning. His main point/question was this: Who Is The LORD? He started in Exodus 5 – in the portion of Scripture where Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh and deliver God’s message to let the Israelites go. And Pharaoh, almost sarcastically asks, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.”

Here are the notes I wrote down:

The less we know of the Lord, or the more stale our relationship with Him grows, the less we want to obey Him.

The Lord is an absolutely extravagant God so we could see the wonders of His creation and marvel at who He is.

Isaiah 6:1-5; Revelation 4

Who is the Lord? He is God! Holy, holy, holy are You Lord God Almighty! The Eternal One.

Trains can shake the ground. Ships’ engines shudder and shake their decks. Bombs cause the earth to tremble. But those are just things. Things made by man. These are nothing compared to the Lord.

He is the Creator. He is the ultimate Potter and we are the clay. The very same God who hung the stars in the sky is the same God who knit me together in my mother’s womb. He paid very close attention to how He created the universe, but even more attention to how He created me! He made sure I was exactly how He wanted me to be.

He is my Redeemer.

He knew excruciating pain and humiliation. In Matthew 27:26-31 – Jesus was scourged. Every time I read or hear the details about a Roman scourging or crucifixion, my stomach ties itself into a knot and I cannot help but shudder at the reality of the gruesome punishment my Savior endured on my behalf. A crown of thorns was planted on His head. A reed, used as a scepter, struck His head repeatedly.

Jesus, did you cry out when they scourged You? As each lash tore away Your flesh, did you scream in pain? Or did You really stay silent like Scripture says, “As a sheep led to the slaughter, He opened not His mouth.” What were You thinking in these moments of intense pain?

Psalm 22

He was rejected, betrayed by His closest friends. All of His disciples fled when He was arrested. Judas Iscariot, a man who broke bread and walked with the Lord, turned Him in. He was abandoned and left to die.

Psalm 69

He knew hopelessness and loneliness. (Psalm 22) My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?

God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us.

Sin is a part of who I am! I am a sin-ner. Sometimes we have had to carry someone else’s guilt, but have we ever taken on someone else’s sin? Have we ever been capable of taking someone else’s sinfulness in addition to carrying our own? No one but Jesus could do that.

He knew what it was like to be treated unfairly. He knew grief, agony, and suffering. He knew everything.

John 11 – When Lazarus had died, Jesus wept! He knew He would raise Lazarus. He knew in a few minutes Lazarus would be living and breathing once again, yet He grieved and wept. So much so that people around Him said, “See! How He loved him!”

He knew the grief of having a wayward child. The grief of knowing His kids were wandering – that His sheep were lost.

Why doesn’t God fix what grieves us? Because we are being conformed to the image of His Son. We suffer betrayal and it’s devastating. Jesus’ close friend betrayed Him. His best friend denied three times that he knew Him. As He hung on His cross, the cross that was rightfully mine and rightfully yours, all Jesus had left was His absolute trust in His Father. And He clung to that.

What struck me was that even though Jesus suffered and endured so much, it was all part of God’s perfect plan. He chose the exact moment when He was going to die. And when His time came, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit willingly. No one took His life.

He knows what it’s like to suffer and to grieve. He understands! He is the God of all comfort. He has experienced every single hurt and frustration.

He know and He cares.

#603 Does Jesus Care?

1. Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?

Refrain:
Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

2. Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near? [Refrain]

3. Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long? [Refrain]

4. Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks—
Is it aught to Him? Does He see? [Refrain]

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That Time I Wrote God An Angry Letter

(Part 1)

July 20, 2017

God, why don’t You do anything? How long will You stay silent? How much more can I take? I hate these people. And I know that’s wrong. You ask for me to love them but God, there is no room in my heart to love them. – A portion of my angry letter to God

I wrote God an angry letter. Our grumpy neighbors are still grumpy. I know I’ve been holding onto bitterness and resentment against them for a long time and it finally all came out. One small thing led to another and I had enough. And I took it upon myself to tell the Lord exactly how I felt about them and how I felt about myself.

What’s interesting is how the Lord answered my angry prayer/letter.

Earlier that day, I read the morning devotion of my Daily Light.

“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16) He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isa. 53:3) “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. (Heb. 7:26) That you may be blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. (Phil. 2:15) Jesus of Nazareth…went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38) Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal. 6:10) That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. (John 1:9) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:14,16)

***Emphasis by me***

There is so much there that spoke to my heart that evening when I reread it. I felt defeated. I felt helpless. I felt like I wasn’t being heard. I felt like the authorities were being unfair because they didn’t understand the situation we were in. I felt like we had a biased mediator who was going between my parents and the grumpy neighbors. I know he was compassionate and kind yet I didn’t feel like justice was being served the way I wanted it to be. I longed to march over to our neighbors and give them a piece of my mind. My heart burned with anger because there was so much I wanted to say, but I couldn’t say it to their faces. I couldn’t say it to anyone’s. My thoughts were mean and ugly and I didn’t want anyone to know exactly how I felt.

But the Lord reminded me of this: I have such a great High Priest who was in all points tempted as I am, yet was without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) The authorities may be playing mediator here, but I have the perfect mediator interceding for me in Heaven on my behalf. In the meantime, I have a job to do. I have a purpose in this life here on earth. And I had forgotten why I’m here in the first place.

At precisely 3:43 p.m. that afternoon, my missionary friend from Niger sent out an email update. I was still  at work, but I stopped to read the email. It was around the time that Mom was coming to pick me up and I know it was minutes after she had yet another visit from the authorities concerning our next door neighbors. Anyways. In his email, Nate highlighted about five things but only two things stuck with me: his engagement (!!!) and the robbery. Back in June, he was robbed of his Bible, his notes, his backup notes, his computer, his passport, his visas, everything. But he wrote something that made me stop. He said,

“So often, I claim I want to know God, but do I truly want the opportunities in which to know Him?

We don’t have to understand the WHY when we know the WHO.

To know Him as my Provider, there must be a need.

To know Him as my Sustainer, there must be extended difficulty.

To know Him as my Comforter, there must be hurt.

To know Him as my Healer, there must be infirmity.

To know Him as my Deliverance, there must be a form of bondage.

To know Him as my Peace, there must be turmoil.

To know Him as the Resurrection, there must be death.”

My first thought was, “Wow, that is so true. What a godly perspective. Nathan has such a good attitude about this.” My second thought was, “I don’t think I could be this gracious. I know this is the right response to have, but I don’t think my heart would do that.”

Mom shared with me on the ride home that as she came to pick me up, a man on the radio shared his 5-minute devotional. The gist of it was, “We as Christians have peace because we know what the end of our story is: God wins. We can go to sleep and get a goodnight’s rest because we’ve read the last chapter and we know that God will make everything right in the end.” Yet I still went to bed with a heavy heart that night. I wanted God to make things right right now. Little did I know that He really was making all things right and He was starting with me.

 

An open letter to my best friend

Today’s the day you graduate! I am so excited for this next chapter in your life.  You have come so far. I know it wasn’t easy persevering to the end but you made it!

Thank you for praying me through my own anxious days. Your support and your encouragement reminded me of how greatly God has blessed me to give me a friend like you. You were quick to remind me of His promises. As iron sharpens iron, you have sharpened me, dear friend.

I wish so badly that I was by your side celebrating with you, but know that I’m thinking of you right now. You’re going to do great things. I know the Lord will bless everyone who comes into your life because you, sweet girl, are a blessing.

We may be a thousand miles away. Literally. But not even distance will make me love you less. In fact, I think I love you more than I did when we were twenty-three miles away!

Congratulations on graduating!

Love,

Ruth 💕

P.S. I’m finished too! 😁

One More Week

Time has just flown.

I just have Physics and English to finish up.

Accounting is finally over. It’s been a struggle. I don’t even know what my final grade is. I know it’s not good. I’m hoping I made a C, but I don’t know. My second to last test was a 66. I think this last one was a 74…I’m not sure. I’m kicking myself because on this last test, there were two questions that I had the correct answer at first, but I changed my mind. For once I got every true or false question right, but that wasn’t enough.

I’m still disappointed that I didn’t even come close to that 86.

About four months in, I wanted to drop out of Accounting. I’ve never wanted to drop out of a class. Ever. Even if it was hard, I pushed through it but this one was So. Difficult. I hated it. I still do, but maybe with less fervor. Anyways, Dad wouldn’t let me quit. I’m glad I didn’t drop the class, because I don’t want to known as a quitter, but failing a class isn’t much better.

I’ve been thinking about which one’s worse: a quitter or a failure?

After talking with a sister in Christ, I came to the conclusion that a quitter is a failure. A quitter is someone who gives up when it gets too hard. God calls us to persevere, to keep on keeping on. His definition of a failure is not a grade that I get or don’t get. His definition of a failure is that I didn’t even try. His definition of a failure is that I didn’t finish the work because it got too hard, so I gave up.

So even if I fail the class, and even though I’m not proud of my work. I tried. I hated every second of it and I might have tried a little too late, but I finished the course.

And I will never take Accounting ever again.