Friday, 29 May 2009

CH Spurgeon on "My Grace Is Sufficient For You."

I read this early this morning and it really hit home, made me smile but really got me thinking:-

There are many passages of Scripture which you will never understand until some trying experience shall interpret them to you. The other evening I was riding home after a heavy day's work; I was wearied and depressed; and swiftly and suddenly as a lightning flash, this text laid hold of me: "My grace is sufficient for you!" When I got home, I looked it up in the original, and finally it dawned upon me what the text was saying, MY grace is sufficient for THEE. "Why," I said to myself, "I should think it is!" and I burst out laughing. It seemed to make unbelief so absurd. It was though some little fish, being very thirsty, was troubled about drinking the river dry; and Father River said; "Drink away, little fish, my stream is sufficient for you!" Or as if a little mouse in the granaries of Egypt after seven years of plenty, feared lest it should die of famine, and Joseph said, "Cheer up, little mouse, my granaries are sufficient for you!" Again I imagines a man on the mountain saying to himself, "I fear I shall exhaust all the oxygen in the atmosphere." But the earth cries, "Breathe away, O man, and fill your lungs; my atmosphere is sufficient for you!" C.H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Singing Love Songs......

On Friday night at our praise team we sang the awesome song 'Hear these praises from a grateful heart.' This song ends with the line 'love you so much, Jesus, love you so much.' When we finished it all that was going through my head was the phrase of another song 'a love song to Jesus.' It kinda stuck with me all of Saturday and then on Sunday we sang the whole song again. There was a moment on Sunday in that service where it turned from us loving and adoring Jesus to sensing His love and His passion and His presence - it was awesome and words are really not enough to explain it. But as we stood singing love songs to the Lord I could hear this voice saying 'who is singing louder?' This question reminded me of that awesome passage from Zephaniah 3:17 where it says

"The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing."

That phrase "He will rejoice over you with singing." Can you believe that the awesome creator of this Universe rejoices over us, delights in us! So it got me thinking and I looked the phrase up in other versions! Check this out:-

delight you with his songs (MSG)
he will joy over thee with singing (American Standard)
he will sing and be joyful about you (New Century Version)
He celebrates and sings because of you (Contemporary English Version

but then I checked the Amplified Version and this is worth the whole verse, it staggered me:-

"The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior, who saves!
He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest, in silent satisfaction,
and in His love He will be silent and make no mention of past sins,
or even recall them; He will exult over you with singing."

My conversation with God on Sunday morning went something like this:-
'Singing I love you Lord, I love you.'
'Who's singing louder?'
'What do you mean?'
'You sing with the vocal chords I have given you, but I rejoice over you with singing.'
'Over me Lord? But why? Look at this and this and this and this (list millions of faults and mistakes!)'
'I'm God - do I need a reason?'
'Well - no!'
'So who is singing louder?'

Words failed me at this point and all I could hear was that song resounding my head whose chorus goes like this:-
'Can you hear Him singing? I love you, I love you. Can you hear Him calling I want you I have chosen you to be mine?

Later I looked up the whole song - (sorry I can't find it on youtube) but the words are below as I read them I simply had to pray yet again 'Lord take this from my head to my heart..........'

He gave Himself for His bride.
He knows what we will be,
A conquering army,
An unblemished people.
We're accepted, we're forgiven,
We're united with Him;
Not rejected, not forgotten,
Not abandoned in sin.

Can you hear Him singing,
'I love you, I love you'?
Can you hear Him calling,
'I want you, I have chosen you to be Mine'?

Jesus loves the church,
His passion through the ages.
Hell will not prevail.He builds us together,
A living temple.
We're accepted, we're forgiven,
We're united with Him;
Not rejected, not forgotten,
Not abandoned in sin

Mike Sandeman

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Brain Overload

Ever had the experience of not being able to sleep as your brain is working overtime? Woken up and not been able to get back to sleep because there is so much to think about?
This happens to me fairly frequently and at different levels! Sometimes it is just a few thoughts that really worry me so I think them through for ages. The early hours today have been very full of lots of thoughts - work, home, Church, other stuff - and then under all of those headings come another 62 sub-sections with sub-sections of their own! My brain can't keep up and can't switch off so rather than toss and turn the only option seems to get up and either do something or try and switch off!
One of my best and favourite 'thinking places' is behind a keyboard - when I type there is no pressure no one to shout me down, put me down, no one to say 'you're wrong, I'm right' - me and letters on little black keys and one awesome God....... I love the fact that God is beyond the alphabet that we have! Anyway here am I at silly o'clock in the morning with a brain that won't stop! But I will take the opportunity to post one of the songs that has had a massive playing and impact on me over the past few weeks. It is from the awesome album by Michael W Smith 'A New Hallelujah' - the version on the CD is with the African Childrens Choir and so here it is - bathe in these awesome words:-0

See on my journey of grace although I am purposefully putting myself in the line of absorbing some of the message of grace - listening to sermons and challenged by my pastors preaching recently to not just accept what he says but to look into it for myself; so in recent weeks I have been looking at exactly what the Bible says about grace on my own - but my findings will be blogged when I have done a bit more! :-)

Anyway as I was saying (sorry I do ramble when my brain is on overload) I have purposefully put myself in the line of fire with the message of grace but as I do so I am finding the message of grace on what I listen to, what people say to me and in my normal day to day reading of the Bible. It seems to come from every angle! This CD by Michael W Smith is something that God has really used. There is another song on the album which is Amazing Grace - but a version with an awesome and beautiful and stirring chorus so I have to post this too! The pictures aren't particularly helpful on this youtube clip but play it and let the words - thrill your heart "my chains fell off - my heart was free.....' Truly Amazing grace, unending love.............

Sunday, 3 May 2009

The dilemma of public tears

Anyone who read my previous post will know that the last few weeks have been frequented by tears. Those that have known me for many years will know that tears have often come. Scripture says that 'weeping will remain for a night but joy comes in the morning' - sometimes the night can be a long one and for me it is extremely long. I think I do pretty well at hiding the fact that so often I am near to tears. I rally myself, put all my efforts into a brave face and just tackle whatever the situation demands. I may fall apart when I am on my own, with my husband or in the shower but I will have gotten through the situation of that day.

This morning someone asked me something at Church after the morning service, I thought I could handle responding to them but alas I couldn't and didn't. I left Church with my head down through an exit that required seeing noone. I cried all the way home, I saw tears fall on my lasagna at lunch time! I spent the afternoon calming down, but the dilemma came for the evening service - groan - if I didn't go the person that asked me the question would feel that they had really upset me, but if I did go and someone spoke to me I knew that I was too close to tears. My hurt and pain may be deep down but at the moment it seems to be 'surface-mounted!' I hate to cry in public - the very thought of it turns my stomach, I don't want people to see that I am not coping. Public tears in a church setting can either be met with gracious loving people or a critical eye cast over your life. Very often the very thing that sparks the tears is not actually dealt with and you can leave that meeting feeling more depressed and just wanting to sob your heart out.

Years ago I remember someone praying for me and it was a painful area that they were praying about and I was weeping and then they switched suddenly for praying for God to stop the tears and fill me with His peace. It left me confused and my thinking was very much along the lines of 'yes it is ok to cry...BUT only with certain conditions and situations attached.' I wonder if the Church in 2009 is prepared to deal with the tears of the broken-hearted, those that face heartache on a daily basis!?!?

The more I hear about God being a God of grace the more confused I seem to get! If God is full of grace and He wishes to meet us in our need then why do we still hurt? If He does not require us to do certain things to obtain His blessing then why does He not bless? If He is loving to the depth and height that we read about how does He not seem to see the heartache of His precious children. Equating grace when looking at loss, heartache, tears is near impossible - yet something else that I need to add to my list when learning about grace.................