His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever;

to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever;

the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever;

the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever

(Psalm 136:1-9)

One of the most disconcerting situations you can ever find yourself in is to be lost. It’s not a situation that many of us deal with on a regular basis, given the availability of maps, smartphones and GPS systems. However, if you don’t have these tools and find yourself in unfamiliar territory, it can be quite scary. Whenever I think of famous explorers from history, I am amazed at the courage they displayed…driven to see what’s out there, not knowing where they were going, what they would find or even if they would ever return.

For those who were brave enough to make the journey, they needed some kind of fixed point to help them orient themselves and make sure that they were still headed in the right direction. For centuries, sailors used the stars and constellations, specifically the North Star and the Southern Cross, to help them navigate. The known, fixed position of these celestial bodies allowed them to continue their journey with confidence and gave them a reference point that they could check if they ever experienced a moment of doubt or uncertainty. Without these fixed points, calculating their heading and progress would have been infinitely more difficult if not impossible!

Like explorers, we can never be certain of where our lives will take us. We may have an idea of where we would like to end up but, many times, circumstances in our lives knock us off our intended course. Whether it’s the consequences of poor decisions that we’ve made, injustice suffered at the hands of others, or just bad luck, when that happens we can feel lost and disoriented. In those times, it is important that we have a fixed point, a foundational, bedrock principle or belief that helps us to regain our bearing.

For the Psalmist, that fixed point was the “steadfast love” of God that “endures forever.” Whatever life threw his way, he knew that he could depend on the unwavering love and mercy of God. It had been there from the very beginning, from the creation of the world, carefully crafted for our benefit and enjoyment. And God’s love remained evident in the many ways that he intervened in the lives of his people Israel. Everywhere he looked, the Psalmist saw the reality of God’s love manifested and it never changed. It would endure forever!

Unfortunately, we do not always feel God’s love in a real and palpable way. Sometimes our insecurities and the weight of our particular struggles prevent us from feeling in our hearts what we know to be true in our minds. In those times, we should meditate on the Lord — consider the nature and character of God — to reveal the truth of who He is, even if we’re not “feeling it.” God is not hiding himself or holding back from us. He is actively listening, speaking, protecting and comforting. It’s just who he is. We just have to trust that his steadfast love will endure a little longer…and it will!

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your unwavering love. When all else in our lives is a chaotic mess, we can return to the sure knowledge of your love for us. When we don’t know how things are going to turn out, we can rely on your complete sovereignty and the fact that you are actively working on our behalf. Thank you for being our North Star and helping us to keep our lives oriented in the right direction. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

“Hope is the thing with feathers…”

(Romans 1:17, CEV) The good news tells how God accepts everyone who has faith, but only those who have faith. It is just as the Scriptures say, “The people God accepts because of their faith will live.”

A general definition of the word faith is, “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”  Faith is not simply believing — it is a complete, active, ongoing involvement with God.  When we have faith in Him, we are choosing to stay connected to what we know to be true, rather than simply going on what we feel in the moment, and taking ourselves beyond what we can see (which, honestly, isn’t always a whole lot).  Faith requires something from us, and given our selfish natures, we aren’t always willing to comply. 

There have been countless times in my life when my faith has been tested.  A natural worrier, and somewhat of a skeptic, I have found myself confronted with genuine hurts and distrust in God’s process.  I have never once doubted His existence, because I’ve felt His presence too often to ever deny that He is real, but I have had my days where I struggled to hope in Him.  Looking back on those moments in my life when I was not fully trusting God, I don’t think I realized that my loss of hope was indeed a lack of faith.  But…that’s what it was.  Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.” 

When I was pregnant with my son, Ben, before I ever even knew that I was having a son, I held a secret hope within my heart — I wanted a red-haired, blue-eyed, boy.  I don’t know why.  It just came to me one day, clearly, that this was what I hoped for in my child.  So, it was no surprise to me when we found out that it was a boy, and even less of a surprise when the labor and delivery nurse said to us, “I see red hair!”  I guess I just always knew, and part of that knowing was trusting God’s strange, yet fascinating ways, and having an understanding of His love for me.  I didn’t know then that I would have only one child.  I didn’t know then, of the deep heartache that would be soothed by this simple fact — that God loved me enough to give to me so precious a gift…my made-to-order, one and only, boy.  This seemingly small thing has carried me through to the other side of many heartaches, much depression, and a whole lot of loneliness — all of which come with the letdown that is infertility and pregnancy loss.  This one thing taught me to trust the process…no matter how difficult it gets.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

-Emily Dickinson

Hope truly is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.  It lingers, like a mother bird on her eggs, never giving up — through rain and wind — fighting off predators…her wings a protection and covering over what she cherishes more than anything else.  Our dreams, our plans, our desires…they must all be sheltered under the covering of our hope, which only comes from Christ…and that hope is born from our faith in God.

Faith is no simple feat.  It is linked directly to our abilities to love God when we are hurt with Him, and to hope in Him when we can’t see the reasons or the outcome.  It is reaching out in the darkness, fully trusting that His hand is there to hold.  It is found in the remembrance of the victories and glories of the past, and knowing that through every single bit of it God hasn’t changed.  It is in these things that our faith is found, strengthened, and renewed. 

(Romans 10:17)  So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.

So you see, it all comes back to Christ — to the Good News that God so loved…SOOOOO loved…the world!  What more could He give?  What more could we ever ask?  And all that He asks in return is that we have complete confidence in Him.  And the reward?  We are welcomed and accepted into God’s favor as His beloved.  From grace to grace, and glory to glory, we have eternal hope.  Because we have chosen to have faith, we walk through every part of our lives as His own — with hope as our trustworthy anchor, holding us fast to the truth of God’s word and the Good News of Christ. 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, when my faith is shaken and tested, help me to remember that I can trust You.  When my heart is broken, help me to remember that I can trust You.  When I don’t understand, help me to remember that I can trust You.  And I will praise You through it all.  And I will love You through it all.  Because I choose faith.  Amen.

Stay In The Zone

(Proverbs 27:8 ESV) Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home.

Our society promotes the idea that you can have it all; you can be anything you want to be. Just dream big, identify the plan that brings success, and go for the gusto. Sounds good, right?

The sad reality is, we can’t have it all, and we can’t be anything we want to be. I say that because God created each of us with a specific purpose meant to advance His Kingdom and bring Him glory. Nothing else will qualify for His blessing, and He will not honor anything contrary to His will.

I’ve learned I am most productive when I stay in the zone God created for me.

When I try to reproduce someone else, or mimic their talent I am outside of my personal zone. When that happens, my efforts will always be less productive than if I stay “home.”

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we need to stretch outside of our comfort zone. Otherwise, we may never release our hidden abilities. We should constantly grow and mature in faith and works, and the only way that can happen is if we are pushing beyond our “safe” place.

With that said, our most productive work will usually be connected to activities we are confident in. Experience is a great teacher. Once we have learned how certain processes work, we should take full advantage of the knowledge that is gained from our failures and successes. Don’t waste the wisdom…Use it!

If you’re feeling lost or misplaced, take a step back and rebuild your confidence by operating in the zone God created for you. Let advancement grow out of those victories. Relax and hang out at home!

PRAYER: Father, thank you for loving me so much that you created a specific plan for my life. I appreciate that You want me to feel at home in my spiritual gifts. I’m happy that you do not require me to fulfill someone else’s call. Help me to relax. To stay in, rather than straying from my zone. Amen.

Praying With Confidence

(Psalm 17:1 ESV) Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!

I’m thankful for grace. I’m thankful that God hears and responds to our repentant heart. I’m glad that God will accept us back when we have fallen flat on our face. He will stand us up, brush us off, put our feet on solid ground, and give us another opportunity.

We sometimes forget that the best way to live is to stay positioned for divine blessings that are beyond forgiveness.

Forgiveness is wonderful. But, it is also one of the basics of Christianity. Why should we be satisfied with ground floor blessings when God clearly has invited us to explore and expand our faith?

David can pray with confidence because he knows that he has risen above the fray of life. He has stayed the course. He has remained free from fleshly desires. He has been tested by God and has passed with flying colors. He is properly positioned for blessing.

With that confidence, David ends this Psalm with these words, “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” (Verse 15)

PRAYER: Father, thank you for grace. We all need it. But, I also thank you for the invitation to abide with you. I am confident that no power shall be able to move me when I remain positioned next to you. Amen!

%d bloggers like this: