Surely

Saturday reflections…

How many times did I focus on the “what ifs” of worry rather than the “surely” of scripture? How many times was I more gripped by restless thoughts than the steadfast love of God?

But where there is failing in his child, there is his grace to sanctify. Where there is struggling faith, there is his grace to strengthen. And surely his goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. And at the end of my life, I will dwell with him forever. A promise better than a thousand lifetimes.

“Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love.”

When Anxiety is Great

Whatever anxiety it is that may grip my heart, my Heavenly Father has a consolation to meet it; a beautiful majesty of his character that surpasses any worry. Loneliness is met with his presence. Animosity is met with his love. Guilt and failure are met with his forgiveness and mercy. Weakness is met with his strength. Hard tasks are met with his grace. Decisions are met with his wisdom. Difficult situations are met with his peace. Grief is met with his comfort. Indifference is met with his compassion. Weak faith is met with his abundance. Lies are met with the truth of his Word. All the evil done in the world will be met with judgment. All those who hope in God will be with him forever.

Therefore, little heart, obey his call to “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Saturday Song: More than Anything

What is most important in life? What is most important for death?

Thankful for a (very) rainy, gray Saturday, honest conversations, remembrances of the past… because of what is most important: the Good Giver of all gifts.

Today’s song is “More Than Anything by Natalie Grant. Click here for the video, read below for the lyrics.

I know if you wanted to you could wave your hand
Spare me this heartache and change your plan
And I know when he said that you could take my pain away
But even if you don’t I pray

Help me want the healer more than the healing
Help me want the savior more than the saving
Help me want the giver more than the giving
Oh help me want you Jesus more than anything
You know more than anyone that my flesh is weak
And you know I’d give anything for a remedy
And I’ll ask a thousand more times to set me free today
Oh but even if you don’t I pray
Help me want the healer more than the healing
Help me want the savior more than the saving
Help me want the giver more than the giving
Oh help me want you Jesus more than anything
Oh when I’m desperate and my heart’s overcome
All that I need you’ve already done, oh
When I’m desperate and my heart’s overcome
All that I need you’ve already done
Oh Jesus help me want you more than anything
Help me want the healer more than the healing
Help me want the savior more than the saving
Help me want the giver more than the giving
Oh help me want you Jesus more than anything
Help me want you Jesus more than anything

He Hath Said: Spurgeon on Hebrews 13:5

“He hath said.” — Hebrews 13:5

If we can only grasp these words by faith, we have an all-conquering weapon in our hand. What doubt will not be slain by this two-edged sword? What fear is there which shall not fall smitten with a deadly wound before this arrow from the bow of God’s covenant? Will not the distresses of life and the pangs of death; will not the corruptions within, and the snares without; will not the trials from above, and the temptations from beneath, all seem but light afflictions, when we can hide ourselves beneath the bulwark of “He hath said”? Yes; whether for delight in our quietude, or for strength in our conflict, “He hath said” must be our daily resort. And this may teach us the extreme value of searching the Scriptures. There may be a promise in the Word which would exactly fit your case, but you may not know of it, and therefore you miss its comfort. You are like prisoners in a dungeon, and there may be one key in the bunch which would unlock the door, and you might be free; but if you will not look for it, you may remain a prisoner still, though liberty is so near at hand. There may be a potent medicine in the great pharmacopoeia of Scripture, and you may yet continue sick unless you will examine and search the Scriptures to discover what “He hath said.” Should you not, besides reading the Bible, store your memories richly with the promises of God? You can recollect the sayings of great men; you treasure up the verses of renowned poets; ought you not to be profound in your knowledge of the words of God, so that you may be able to quote them readily when you would solve a difficulty, or overthrow a doubt? Since “He hath said” is the source of all wisdom, and the fountain of all comfort, let it dwell in you richly, as “A well of water, springing up unto everlasting life.” So shall you grow healthy, strong, and happy in the divine life. – C.H. Spurgeon, Morning, February 21

Even though

Whatever thing my life seems to lack does not diminish the goodness of God to me. God’s grace and love are not measured by wealth or food or health, what I receive or what I am not given. The joy of his Holy Spirit transcends all situations, even the deepest of joys and the greatest of griefs. His love is measured by Himself- the God who is good to His children and who never fails. Rejoice, therefore soul, in His salvation.

To my Teacher Self: you are serving the Lord Christ

This week in my fifth grade class we are reading “This I Believe: Free Hearts and Minds at Work”, a radio talk by Jackie Robinson. This quote toward the end really stood out to me:

“And in the largest sense, I believe that what I did was done for me — that it was my faith in God that sustained me in my fight.” – Jackie Robinson, This I Believe: Free Hearts and Minds at Work

That got me thinking: How often do I think about what I have to do instead of what has been done for me by God? How often do I think about what God will do for me?

When my heart is focused on the work I have to do, expectations from myself and others, that student (or administrator) who seems to have it in for me, or the sleep I just can’t seem to get, my heart is overwhelmed and temped toward resentment, impatience, and worry.

As I was praying through today, the Lord brought this verse to me:

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”  Colossians 3:23-24 ESV

So that got me thinking through practical implications of how to address frustrations. Some of these apply to me at the moment, some do not. However, they are all possible in the world of teaching. I don’t voice these frustrations because we should dwell on them, but to practice meeting real frustrations and temptations to sin with the truth of what Christ has done for those who hope in him alone for salvation. In other words, I hope to address what I have to do with what Christ is doing and has done for me, because I am serving the Lord Christ.

When I am planning my lessons with my weekends or late nights, I am serving the Lord Christ who loved me and gave himself for me. (Ephesians 5:2)

When I write my agendas on the board every morning, I am serving the Lord Christ who is my strength and song. (Psalm 118:14)

When I am dealing with a defiant – or even just annoyingly talkative- kiddo, I am serving the Lord Christ who has shown me mercy. (1 Peter 2:10)

When I’m faced with a conflict with co-workers or supervisors, I am serving the Lord Christ who multiplies grace and peace to me. (2 Peter 1:2)

When my planning (or lunch) is taken up with petty annoyances or more serious, seemingly impossible issues, I am serving the Lord Christ who awoke my heart from death and sin to salvation and life- a work impossible for me, but not for him. (Luke 18:27)

When I am grading papers, I am serving the Lord Christ who has promised to never leave me. (Hebrews 13:5)

When I am having an observation that may or may not be going according to plan, I am serving the Lord Christ who has already placed his favor on me. (Psalm 84:11)

When I seem to not be getting answers to work e-mails, I am serving the Lord Christ who hears my prayers and answers them. (Psalm 116:1)

When I’m buying more school supplies for my classroom out of my pocket, I am serving the Lord Christ who deals bountifully with me. (Psalm 116:7)

When I’m talking with or being harassed by an upset, unpleasant parent, I am serving the Lord Christ who enables me to do what is right. (Philippians 2:13)

So my prayer for myself today, as well as for us all, is that I set the Lord always before me so that my heart will not be shaken with resentment or worry.

“Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.

Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Psalm 28:6-9

And may God guard my heart and faith today against any lie that would tell a different story. May he increase my faith to believe in the good promises and hope of his word.