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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

He Knows Me

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Psalm 139:1-18
1O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
3Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
4For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
5Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
7Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
11If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
12Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
13For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.
14I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

This passage of Scripture has always been one of my favorites. Just the thought that God knows me. I mean, He doesn't just know about me. He KNOWS me. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows every tear I've ever cried. He's known me since before I was the size of my baby in that ultrasound picture up there.

He knew my substance before all of my members were perfectly formed. He knew me before they were even there (check out verse 16 if you don't believe me!) The point is that He knows EVERYTHING I've ever done. Yet He still loves me. Isn't that awesome?

I mean right there in verse 17 it says that God's thought are precious toward us. I don't know about you, but I have been anything but precious for a good part of my life. Spoiled, bratty, disobedient, undeserving, those are pretty much the words I would use to describe Heather, but God sees me as precious. He sees me as a child that He formed from the womb. He sees me as an eternal soul that He sent His only Son to die for.

And no matter what I do, I can't get away from His awesome presence. Oh sure, in my shame I might try to hide, but no matter what God is always there. He WANTS to be there because I am important to Him. I don't know about you, but that is a thought that makes me want to praise Him today! Why don't you join me?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Beauty for Ashes

Okay, so last week I was in Costa Rica (I know, I know, it's a tough job, but someone has to do it.) Anyway, as we were driving from plant to plant (work plants not green plants), I was enjoying all the gorgeousness of the countryside that surrounded me.
I mean, there were flowers everywhere, of all different colors, shapes, and sizes. Then there were these rocks that someone had painted, on the side of a mountain, just off of the CURVY, MOUNTAIN roads. The paintings were beautiful, but I couldn't help think about how dangerous it was to sit there to actually paint one. Because in some cases the rocks were located at the bottom of a steep incline, in the midst of a sharp curve. Let's just say, if it was me painting, I'd be praying that the cars coming had good breaks and the sense to use them properly!
One day we actually even saw the lady painting, and I noticed she kept a watch out. But as I looked at all those paintings and thought about how beautiful things come from painful situations. I mean, I'm sure that lady enjoyed painting, but it can't be comfortable to kneel in the sun, on the rocky ground, constantly watching to make sure some runaway car isn't headed your way. It took discomfort on her part to make those beautiful paintings.
And it made me think of how many times we as God's children put ourselves into very painful situations. We do things against God's will. We disobey His commands.
But just as that lady used her brush to make ordinarily gray rocks into a beautiful display of color, God uses our failures to make us into stronger Christians. He teaches us lessons about His grace and forgiveness. He shows us how to come to Him to overcome temptation. And most of all He shows us that no matter what, He is always there.
God can make something beautiful out of any situation. The question is whether or not we choose to allow Him to. As for myself, I can't wait to see the beauty He can make from my mistakes.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

There's Only Grace

Psalm 51
1Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

This passage of Scripture is a little longer than what I normally share in my posts, but it's been a very good while since I've posted, and this may turn out to be a long post anyway.
Well, as I promised, I am back to blogging. It took me a little longer than I intended to come back, but certain things had to be done before I could share my heart here.
For over a year and a half I have shared my heart on this blog. I've shared many of the ups and downs of my life with you guys. I've shared things God has taught me, both the easy way and the hard way. Well, in the last few months, He has been teaching me the hardest lesson I've ever had to learn.
See, I've done some confessing on here before. I have very often admitted that I'm far from perfect. But a few months back, I did something that I was so ashamed of that I only admitted and confessed it to God. However, though we confess our sins, at times we still must face the consequences of them.
In my case, the consequence is that I'm pregnant. Eleven weeks and 1 day to be exact. I must admit that sharing that here is harder than I thought it would be, though several of you VERY ENCOURAGING Christian ladies have informed me that NO MATTER WHAT, God can still use me. (Those ladies will never know how much their words of encouragement have meant to me, as I have faced this time of uncertainty.)
Anyway, the reason for my break is that I knew this is something that I couldn't hide because I want this blog to be nothing, if not honest. And I am honestly far from perfect. And there were others that needed to be told about the situation before I shared it with the entire blogging word. Anyway, I know God has forgiven me, and I know that this baby is a miracle. I have prayed as David did in Psalm 51, and I believe completely that God has renewed a right spirit within me and given me a clean heart.
And God has already used this situation to make me realize several things.
I've learned that resting in God's grace is an amazing feeling. Over the last few months, I've faced some very hard times. First when I had to tell my parents that I was pregnant. That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. But I knew that God was with me. And I could feel His arms of grace wrapped around me.
Then He was with me as I told my grandparents (my grandpa is my preacher.) Again, this was extremely difficult, but with God's help, I was able to bear it.
Last Sunday night I stood before my entire church and offered a public apology and asked for love and support. This was something I felt I needed to do because I held positions in the church. Let me just say that I felt SO loved. There was not one person in the church who did not cry with me. There was not one person who didn't wrap me in their arms and offer their prayers and support. There was no sign of unforgiveness. And God showed me His grace through people that have been like my family my entire life.
So I have found that in the face of my failures there is only grace when I lean on Christ. I'll leave you today with the words to this Matthew West song:

There's only grace,
There's only love.
There's only mercy and believing it's enough, it's enough,
My sins ARE GONE without a trace,
There's nothing left now,
There's only grace.