Monday, December 28, 2009

Exchanging My Plans for His

Good afternoon, sweet friends of mine. Hope this gift of another day finds you doing well and living in the joy of our Father. Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your busy schedule. It would be an honor to share with you some thoughts from this heart of mine.

Plan. What a tiny word with such vast meanings and implications. I researched the different definitions of the word
plan. This was perhaps my favorite. defines plan as: "A systematic arrangement of elements or important parts; a configuration or outline: a seating plan; the plan of a story." The words systematic and outline are the two words that really stood out to me.

When viewing this small word from a technical aspect, I realized how silly I have been in viewing my life plans. This time last year, my life plan was as follows:
1. May 2010: Graduate from nursing school.
2. Summer 2010: Get married
3. Move wherever my husband and I both acquire jobs.
4. Begin my role as a Godly wife and a RN.
And when these failed to work heart begin to collapse.

Here I sit today in this quaint little coffee shop: 21 years old, single, not sure where God is calling me after May there something wrong with this picture? Absolutely not. It is right where He has called me to be..."for such a time as this." Do I always have this positive attitude? Hmm...that would be a negative. In fact, over the past week, my faithful Father has been dealing with me on this issue. Such a growing time of: seeking His divine direction, anticipating His timely answer, and resting in His sovereign will.

I have recently begun a new Bible study by Priscilla Shirer entitled: "Discerning the Voice of God." Could this study have come in my life at a better time? Oh my. Another neat tidbit about this book is that I had debated between two different studies written by Shirer before coming to the decision that this was the one I would complete first. Wow. Again, I come to the conclusion that God brought this study into my life "for such a time as this." What a God of the details!

This study focuses upon the somewhat unfamiliar book of Habakkuk. Read Habakkuk 1:2-4 if you have your Bible nearby. Perhaps you can sense this man's frustration as he desperately desires to hear from God concerning the sinfulness in Judah. Consider some difficult circumstances within your own life. Have you ever felt like Habakkuk? Have you ever asked God: "Why are you allowing this to go on? Why do you remain silent? Do you not hear me?" Strikes a cord with me.

But then, my friends, we see God in His divine time answer this distraught soul with a promise of hope in 1:5:
"Look among the nations! Observe!
Be astonished! Wonder!
Because I am doing something in your days--
You would not believe if you were told."

What a comfort! Even in God's apparent silence, He was working "behind the scenes." Shirer writes: "With these words, God gave Habakkuk spiritual vision. The prophet received encouragement to look around and observe. While Habakkuk waited on God to answer, God was already answering...Even though the prophet wasn't seeing God respond in the way and timing he expected, God was speaking and moving. He always is--even in His silence."

God is always speaking and moving...even in His silence. What an encouragement to this "planner" heart of mine.

Let's skip over to the next chapter. In Habakkuk 2:1, we see this prophet's next action. Wait for the Lord's direction, anticipating His answer.
"I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart.
And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me."
Habakkuk 2:1

This required a willing and open heart, plus a major dose of patience. And then, our faithful Father did it again. He spoke. Yet another promise of hope in 2:3:
"The vision is yet for the appointed time...Though it tarries, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay."

Shirer focuses on this principle: "The process of waiting for a message from God is just as important as the message itself." For in that season of waiting, God is able to grow our weary and needy hearts into those molded to fulfill His perfect PLANS for our lives. Shirer brought about the principle of the guard post. She states: "The watchtower was positioned well above the group to provide a broad view for miles around. It gave the guard in the tower a different view circumstances. Habakkuk purposed to remove himself from the depression and anxiety of his ground-level circumstances and get above them. He took his eyes off his circumstances and watched only for God."

Will you purpose today to get those searching eyes off your "ground-level" circumstance. Go and climb that guard post. Listen for Almighty God's voice. How? Through prayer, meditation on His Word, and worship.
"Wait for the Lord;
Be strong, and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord."
Psalm 27:14

The answer may not come when you think it should, but He will never fail to provide His direction.
"The Lord is not slow about His promise..."
2 Peter 3:9

And even in times of discouragement, God does care about the details. And for a "detail-oriented" person like myself, it's even more of an encouragement to truly believe that. I leave you today with one last bit of encouragement.

A few days ago, I walked into Barnes and Noble. I got my coffee and decided to head to the nursing section of the store. The nearing decisions regarding my future were heavy on my heart, and I was hoping to find some books on different types of nursing and possible hospitals to consider. Deep inside I wanted to avoid the thought of making such important and difficult decisions. Yet, I knew the time had come. As I walked in front of the tall, white bookcase, a blue book caught my eye. I read the title, looked up...and smiled. For in front of me was not a nursing book but a inspirational journal that someone had "randomly" placed upon the shelf. The title read, "Dear God, I need to talk to you." after page...I read one encouraging verse after another. All words pointed me towards a faithful God who cared about my future. Coincidence some may say. But in my heart, I did not consider it a random literary misplacement. I considered it a divine appointment with my Almighty God, Who is concerned with the details. He truly cares. He will give us divine direction in each and every area of our lives.

Don't run because of difficult circumstances, sweet one of God. Don't collapse in your weary search for direction. Don't become discouraged in what appears to be silence from the Father. Get up on the watchtower. Listen for that still, small voice. Spend time with the One Who loves you far more than you could ever comprehend. Be still and listen. He's moving and speaking...even now.

"Call to Me, and I will answer you,
and I will tell you great and mighty things,
which you do not know."
Jeremiah 33:3

Amen? Talk with Him. Be encouraged, follower of God. Blessings to you.

Hannah Grace

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus"

The deep, deep love of Jesus. What an incredible gift. Tonight I lie awake...this hymn on my heart. ""O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus." Will you join with me in reflecting upon the measureless love of our Savior?

Recently I have been doing a study by Beth Moore entitled, "Measureless Love." An incredible study, based upon the Apostle Paul's words in Ephesians 3: 14-19:

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

Within the first session, Beth Moore focuses on what makes God's label of an immeasurable love so impressive? We see in Scripture, God's continued use of detailed measurements: the tabernacle, the promised land, the ark, new Jerusalem, each one's very days on this earth (Job 14:5). We also read in Scripture of a divine Creator, Who fashioned the earth by His mighty hand...detailed measurements. Beth Moore brought out this concept as she explained that the earth is just far enough away from the sun and the moon...and tilted at just right angle. Can you consider how incredible it is that a God of detailed measurements puts none whatsoever on His great love.

The reminder of God's great love came at a special time of the year. It seems as if the older I become, Christmas is less about the gifts, the holiday festivities, and the Christmas "feeling" in the air. More this year than ever, I have been reminded of God's love and provision for me. The birth of a baby boy over two thousand years ago was God's provision for my life, a life that had yet to even begin. The cross that Jesus would bear thirty-three years later was out of His great love for you and me. He was already preparing a way for you and me. It brings tears to my eyes and a overwhelming peace to my heart.

"Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread His praise from shore to shore
How He came to pay our ransom
Through the saving cross He bore
How He watches o’er His loved ones
Those He died to make His own
How for them He’s interceding
Pleading now before the throne"

And even when life just doesn't make sense, and even when plans just do not seem to pan out, and even when we're at what feels like the end of our we have it: the immeasurable, vast, unfailing, deep, deep love of Jesus. He watches over the ones He died to ransom. He prays for us, He guides us, He pleads to the Father on our behalf...all because of His great and measureless love for you. What more do you need, dear one? What more.

I recently heard this beautiful version of the inspirational hymn by Samuel Trevor Francis. Sovereign Grace Music surely did a beautiful job. They added this chorus to their version:

"Oh the deep, deep love, all I need and trust
Is the deep, deep love of Jesus "

Do you believe that tonight? I am with you. Life can be hard. Life's decisions can be often be overwhelming, relationships can sometimes feel as if they're falling apart, at times our life plans feel as if they have been put on hold...but what remains? The deep, deep love of our Savior. All that we need is found in Him and Him alone. We can trust Him. Will you trust Him? How thankful I am. May you be reminded this Christmas season of His great love for you.

"For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him."
Psalm 103: 11-13

Hannah Grace

Thursday, December 3, 2009

So as I was with Moses, So I will be with You

Do you ever feel as if you have an abundance of things to pray about? Perhaps so many things you need direction on that it is difficult to even to know where to begin. You come humbly before the throne of God and feel that you have so many situations, so many circumstances, and so many important decisions to talk to Him about. Speaking for myself, I've been there in the past…currently there today.

I was reminded recently of a miraculous story in the book of Joshua…a miracle from Almighty God. There is so much in the book of Joshua. I encourage you to read it! But, tonight I want to focus on one event. Let me begin by giving some background information. At the beginning of Joshua 1, the Israelites' leader Moses had just passed away. The Lord appointed to Joshua lead the people across the Jordan River into the land that He had promised. Imagine with me…how Joshua must have felt. Here not only had a dear brother and friend passed away, but their leader was now gone. What a great responsibility had fallen upon the shoulders of Joshua. Yet we read in Joshua 1:5-6, a beautiful promise to Joshua from God:

"No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live.

For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you

or abandon you."

Amen. I imagine a holy fire igniting within the heart of Joshua as he heard those words. What a promise…what a faithful God.

There stood many obstacles between the Israelites and the Promised Land. Perhaps one of the largest and most intimidating of them all was the Jordan River. But our Almighty God provided for this obstacle…He provided a miracle. Then, He provided direction. God commanded that the priests carry the Ark of the Covenant walking in front of the people, leading them across the river. "Since you have never traveled this way before, they will guide you." (3:4) The Bible tells us that as soon as the priest's feet touched the water, the waters "stood still," (3:16) resulting in a dry riverbed. The entire nation of Israel crossed over the Jordan River…on dry land. (3:17)

Wow…can you imagine that day, that moment of God's miraculous power? I imagine the priests standing in the middle of what had been a mighty river, standing in awe of God's provision. I imagine the young children, somewhat frightened by the sight but taking step by step holding each other's hands. What an amazing display of God's faithfulness…faithful to His people, faithful to His promise.

The reminder of the story touched my heart so deeply. I imagine myself, just as the Israelites once did, standing at the banks of a great sea…a sea filled with endless decisions and an unknown future. Sometimes an excitement overwhelms me...other times fear seems to creep in. Stepping forward from a past of being rescued and provided for by the Lord and now awaiting the promise of a future filled with hope…here I stand. From the depths of my heart, I pray: "Oh, Lord. How do I get across? Which way do I go? What is Your plan? Take me wherever You desire. I will follow."

I imagine Him coming beside His dear child and taking my hand in His. "Do not be afraid, Hannah. So I was with Moses, so I was with Joshua, so I will be with you." I imagine Him taking a few steps into the "water"…providing a pathway of dry land. And just as He promised Joshua, His promise resonates in my ears as well:

"This is my command--be strong and courageous!

Do not be afraid or discouraged.

For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Joshua 1:9

Today, do I have all the answers? No. Do I know exactly what He has planned for me? Well, no. But I have the promise of God's direction, of His protection, of His provision. As I trust in Him, He can perform His perfect will for my life. What an excitement and joy that brews from the depths of my soul when I truly put my whole trust in Him.

And for you, precious child of God, you have that promise, as well. Some reading this today may have lost hope in God's promise. The way seems too long, the mountain seems too big, the water seems too deep. May your heart be filled with hope. Just as He was with Moses, just as He was with Joshua, so our God is with you. What a comfort. What a blessing. What a hope. Thank you, Jesus.

Join with me in a prayerful daily walk of faith. It is a comfort to know that He holds each and every day is it not? Let Him show you the way, child of God. Do not be afraid. He is with you…wherever you go. Do you trust Him?

Hannah Grace

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Even Before I Knew"

Okay, friends. I wrote this song about a month ago, and I wanted to share it with you. The sound is not great, so I posted the lyrics below. Sorry about that.

Wrote this to be a wedding song. It's so neat to me to listen to married couples tell the story of how God brought them together. I'm sure they would agree that God works "behind the scenes," orchestrating His perfect plan...down to even the very last detail. I've been praying for that future husband of mine since I was a little girl...praying for God's blessing over him in the waiting. This song was birthed out of the thankfulness in my heart that God is orchestrating His perfect every area of my life.

And even outside of the concept of marriage, are you thankful today that God is in control of all things? He has control of each and every minute of each and every day...even though we do not know what is to come. What a blessing it is to truly consider that. For whatever may come, we can rest assure that He is the Divine Director of all things...even before we knew.

"Even Before I Knew"

Even before I knew
A little heart was praying
Even before I knew
Your love I was waiting
With a box full of letters
And a heart full of dreams
Waiting for the day
When your face I’d see

But the waiting seemed long
Thought I’d lose my song
But God heard every cry
And this was His reply

Ask and shall be given
Seek and ye will find
Knock and the door will be opened
But only in My time
And my hope was renewed
Each time I prayed for you
Strength given daily, peace in the waiting
Even before I knew

Even before you knew
What God was preparing
Even before you knew
Your prayers He was answ’ring
For He knew in His time
Me you would find
Shaped by God’s own Hand
Our love story, part of the Master’s plan

Here we are
Seeing face to face
A love so true
Given by God’s grace
He’ll make us one
From Him our love comes from.

Strength given daily
For you I was praying
Even before I knew

Written by: Hannah Grace Weaver

"Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you."
Psalm 37:4-5

Hannah Grace

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Twelve Little Kiddos, One Patient Coach, and a Football

Twelve bright-eyed little boys, one very patient and passionate coach, and a football. And even though I have an extremely limited knowledge of this great game of football, God used these three images to teach me a very important lesson last night.

One of my favorite things to do after a long day is to take a walk or jog on the track. Worship music going through my ears, praises to God soaring from my's a beautiful and precious time with my Father. Just me and Him.

The track at our local YMCA is set just above the gymnasium. Most of the time the gym floor remains fairly empty. But on this particular night, a group of young boys were gathered to partake in probably the most anticipated highlight of their week: football practice. I watched as a very brave coach rounded up these excited kiddos, of whom just one of those boys probably had more energy on a Monday night than three of me put together. They all gathered for a common goal: outsmart and defeat the enemy. I watched as the coach began to teach them different strategic movements. He would model the "play" first, then allow them to try it. "Alright, boys. Run it!" He would yell. And with all the strength that was within them, they would run. Often at times they would mess up. But even in their failed attempts at the play, the coach would compassionately stop them and show them the correct way. Many times I would watch as he would pat one of the little guys on the back and say: "Good job, buddy. Way to go."

But perhaps what caught my attention more than anything that night was the beautiful concept of teamwork reflected in these young children. At one point during the practice, one small player was knocked to the ground. I watched as another boy reached down his hand to help the fallen teammate. I couldn't help the smile from coming across my face. I watched as the each young boy took his position on the "field" and worked for one common goal...of victory...victory over the enemy.

I began to think..."Wow, what a neat picture of the body of Christ in this great kingdom of God!" God is very much indeed our Coach in life. He has given us His Word, a play-by-play showing us exactly how His children should live in order to overcome the enemy. He has even sent us a living, breathing example of how to walk as believer through the life of His Son, our Lord Jesus.

"The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living." (Ps. 19:18)

And though sometimes we "run the play" wrong or we might even stumble and "drop the ball," He gently shows us the us clear direction and lovingly forgiving us in what may seem like our deepest failures.

"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand."
Psalm 37:23-24

What God impressed heavily upon my heart that night was the importance of encouraging fellow believers. The beautiful sight of that young boy reaching his hand down to help his exactly what I desire to do in the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ. What an amazing blessing and opportunity we have to bless others and encourage each other in our faith. Through His Son, God gives us power to unite as believers for a common goal: defeat the enemy. Are you taking time to build up others and encourage them is this "play" of life?

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

And as I walked the track that night, I began to pray for those who would walk those same steps on the track long after my time there had ended. I prayed that they would come to know God and that they would experience the joy that I had in my heart because of what He has done for me. I prayed that perhaps even I could share with them about this great love one day.

Does it bless you tonight that God does indeed direct your every step? He has shown the way, step by step, play-by-play. Even more, He has gone before us and promises that He will never leave our side.

"You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head... You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."
Psalm 138: 5, 16

I imagine Him whispering in my ear: "Let's go, Hannah. I'm here by your side. I won't leave you. Run it! "

So, I sit here tonight. A burden on my heart for you, child of God. May you know tonight that He is the Director of your steps, the Healer of your heart, your God Almighty. May you be encouraged tonight in this "game of life." You are not alone. He's beside you all the way. Run it, precious one of God. Run it.

"I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety."
Psalm 16:8-9

Hannah Grace

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hope From Your Redeemer

"But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
'Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...
because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.
From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.'
This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel...”
Isaiah 43:1-2, 4, 13, 14

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Joy Everlasting

Joy. What a concise little word with such a vast meaning. A beautiful word, reflecting the very essence of what God has called our lives to be basked within. He has especially made this very clear in my life over the course of this past week.

This week has been a struggle, a struggle to maintain a sense of joy. My attitude, my heart, my life...did not start out "joyfully" this week. How about you? Perhaps these statements will sound familiar to you. How can I have joy, Lord, when that mountain in front of me seems so large. How can I have joy, Lord, with those dreams seem so far out of reach? And how can I have joy, Lord, when I feel as if there is nothing to be joyful about?

Have you ever thought any of those statements within your mind? Or maybe you've prayed those cried those pleas many times to God. At one time or another, we have all experienced times in our lives where joy seems to be almost buried beneath the cares of this life. But what has the Lord asked us to do? Be joyful? Yes, dear child, be overcome with joy.

As I have mentioned many times previous to this entry, I am currently reading "Hope" by Nancy Guthrie. At the beginning of this week, it was almost as if God had laid this book right before me and flipped through the pages to page 181. He sovereignly planned that I begin this week by reading a devotion entitled: "No One Can Rob You of this Joy." In John 16, Jesus was helping His disciples understand what was to come. They did not understand completely that He Jesus would be dying. Confusion consumed their hearts. How discouraging to hear that your Leader, the one that you have followed with your whole heart, would soon be gone. But then the beautiful words of our Lord Jesus followed, saying: "You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy when you see Me again. You have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy." (John 16:20,22)

Beautiful. How beautiful. Does that encourage your heart? Oh, how it does mine. Everlasting joy is the promise for those who follow Him. Jesus has given a promise of everlasting joy. "The resurrection of Jesus means that not only will He live forever as the Source of our joy, but we also will live forever if He is our Source of joy." (Guthrie)

Throughout the week, stressful times did, in fact, make their unwelcomed appearances. They did surely attempt to rob my joy. I remember one day I just stopped during the middle of stressful time and said aloud: "You are my joy, Lord." My attitude became that of joy, but only by His help.

About a month ago, I sat down with my planner and wrote down a verse for each week of the semester. I randomly selected these verses. As I was writing my "To-do" lists, the verse for this week caught my attention. Would it surprise you if I told you that it had something to do with joy? Well...our God is a detailed and "on-time" God. Of course it did.

"You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever."
Psalm 16:11

This would be the first of many verses of joy that God would bring unto my attention.

"You love Him even though you have never seen Him.
Though you do not see Him now, you trust Him;
and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy."
1 Peter 1:8

"The Lord is my strength and shield.
I trust in Him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
I burst in songs of thanksgiving"
Psalm 28:7

What precious promises! God does not promise that difficult circumstances and seemingly overwhelming situations will never come. However, He promises that nothing can rob the joy that comes from a life lived in Jesus Christ. May we spend time in God's Word and spend time in prayer, child of God. May we bring our cares, concerns, the throne. May we leave them there, resting in God's sovereign provision. May we make a conscious choice to live with an attitude of joy...a joy that comes from loving our Lord Jesus. For no discouragement that you may face, no disease that may strike your body, no failure that may thwart your plans, no enemy that may desire your harm, no brokenness that attempts to steal your hope...nothing, precious servant of God, nothing can rob your Joy. For He is your Joy.

This is my prayer for you tonight:

"I pray that God, the source of hope,
will fill you completely with joy and peace
because you trust in him.
Then you will overflow with confident hope
through the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13

No one and no thing can rob you of the joy that comes from our Lord Jesus. Praise God!

Hannah Grace

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Even though...yet I will praise Him.

The sound of rain. To some, it's soothing. To others, it's refreshing. But to some, it's a sound that brings unwelcomed feelings of fear and despair. Well...that is if you are a farmer.

Over the past few weeks, the farmers of the community have been on my heart. Rain...something that is so desperately prayed for in the droughts of the summer suddenly came like a flood...literally. The precious seed that was carefully planted a few months ago and grown into a beautiful crop is now being seemingly suffocated by the rain. And yet...God knows. Even more than that...He planned this. It may be a struggle to believe it, but He is in control.

Last week, as I was listening to one of my favorite worship CDs, a song came across the speakers. It is a song that I have heard possibly twenty times, but that day it seemed as if God was speaking these lyrics with His very voice right into my own ears. A certain part stood out to me that day. And as Hillsong sang these words, I listened...captivated by God's sovereignty.

"When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father, You are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God."

Yes, Lord. You are King over the flood. What a blessing it was to be able to sing those words. After weeks of almost continuous rain that seemed to never have an end...what hope lies ahead. For whatever the "flood" may be within our lives...divorce, financial troubles, sickness, fear, abandonment...He is King. Praise God that our circumstance do not determine His faithfulness. He is asking us to be still. To be still, dear ones, and know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10) Are you doing that today? I can from the depths of my heart be honest today and tell you that I have not been lately. I have allowed fear and doubt to consume me instead of being still before my Father. Oh, that we may truly recognize His sovereign hand over every event in our lives. For He has promised good...not evil. For He gives love...not hatred. For He works all for His glory that His name be exalted. For He always just the right time.

In Matthew 8, we read the story of Jesus' mighty hand calming a storm. His disciples were terrified...stricken with fear, doubt, and hopelessness. Yet all that our Lord did was "rebuke" the wind and waves...and all was calm.

I imagine Jesus in the middle of the "storms" in life...holding out His hand, calling us by name...asking for us to rest in Him. "Be still, Hannah. I am Your Saviour. I am in control. I alone will calm the My time. You need only be still."
"Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
'Yes, I am here'; He will quickly reply." (Is. 58:9)

Today if you have time, listen to the song posted at the bottom of this entry. Whatever the storm may be within your life, will you trust Him today? Will you trust that He is in control? And even as Habukkuk prayed these words in the midst of an unknown future, may you have the courage and faith to pray the same. Even though...yet I will praise Him.

"Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!"
Habakkuk 3:17-19

Lift up your heads, O farmers of faith. No matter what "storm" you may be facing. Praise God there is hope...even though.

"The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as king forever.
The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace."
Psalm 29:10-11

Hannah Grace

Saturday, September 5, 2009

From Imitation to Authentic

Imagine if someone walked up to you one day and said: "Do you trust every part of your life?" What would your answer be? Perhaps you would emphatically and quickly blurt out: "Yes, of course I do. I trust Him fully!" Perhaps for most of us, that would be our answer in so many words. But think about this with me. Do we, in our hearts, really trust in the Lord as emphatically as we proclaim with our mouths?

In one of my nursing classes, we are studying the different developmental theories that have been presented over the years. One of the most well-known theories was developed by a man named Erik Erikson. He presented a series of stages, with each stage having certain developmental tasks. In order to progress normally in development, each task must be fulfilled before moving to the next stage. I have heard about this theory for quite some time now, but today as I was studying, something stood out to me. In the first stage of development, an infant must accomplish the task guessed I sat in awe today as I read these words of Mary Townsend in my textbook: "The major task to develop is basic trust in the mothering figure...Achievement of the task results in self-confidence, optimism, faith in the gratification of needs and desires, and hope for the future." Wow, wow, wow. It hit me. Just as a baby learns to trust that its needs will be met by its mother, so we can trust that our needs will be met by our Heavenly Father. He is a God that can be trusted, our Father Who has never once failed His children. How amazing is that? And what comes from that step of trust in His provision? Faith and hope for this journey of life that He walk with us. Amen!

A few weeks ago, I sat in my church and was blessed by one of the most powerful sermons I have ever heard. This anointed pastor concluded his sermon based on John 15:5 with a beautiful story. I would love to share it with you today, for it changed my perspective on truly trusting God with every fiber of my being, in every area of my life.

There once was a young girl, who purchased a very special set of imitation pearls with her hard-earned allowance. She loved these pearls. Everywhere that she went, the pearls were to be found. Everyone that knew this little girl, knew her fondness of this precious necklace. Every night, her Daddy would come and tuck her in before she drifted off to sleep...with these precious pearls in her hand. On one particular night, her Daddy said:

"Darling, do you love me?"
She replied quickly: "Oh Daddy, you know I love you!"
"Then give me your pearls," he said.
Clutching the necklace tightly, she wimpered: "Oh Daddy, I can't do that. Please don't take my pearls."
"It's okay, honey. I love you. Goodnight." The next night, her Daddy came to tuck her in. Once again, he asked: "Precious daughter, do you love me?"
"Yes, Daddy, you know I love you!"
"Then give me your pearls."
"Daddy, please, you can have anything in this whole room. I'll even give you my favorite stuffed animal. But please, please don't take my pearls."
"It's alright, sweetheart. I won't take the pearls. I love you so much. Goodnight." The next night, the young girl's father came into her room as he always had done and found her lying in bed holding the pearls close to her heart. She had been thinking all day about these pearls and how much they meant to her. For she just knew that perhaps she could never live without them. But, tonight...would change her life. Before he could say any word at all, she looked at those prized pearls and gently handed them to him saying:
"Here Daddy. I love you, and I want you to have these. I'm giving them to you." And her father, with tears in his eyes, took those imitation pearls and said: "I love you, too. More than you know. I want the best for you." And after saying those words, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a delicate velvet box, and handed it to her. And inside the box was a beautiful, genuine pearl necklace, more beautiful than she could have ever dreamed.

For only when the young girl was able to give her most precious possession to her father was he able to bless her with something far better than she could have ever imagined. He replaced her imitation pearls with beautiful, genuine pearls. She had to trust in her father, knowing that he knew what was best for her, even though it required that she give up a precious and prized part of her life. Only then was he able to bless her.

What a beautiful picture of trust and surrender. What are you holding on to? What have you not completely surrendered to the Lord? Is there an area of your life that you are having trouble trusting Him in? Oh, ones of God, He can be trusted. He is a faithful God. Perhaps it is when we are willing to surrender even the most precious pieces of our lives to Him...perhaps the things in our lives of which we are certain that we could never live without. Oh may we never hold anything back from the Lord. May we be able to hold every desire, every blessing, every gift in the palm of our hands and pray: "Lord, I give it You. I trust that Your ways are best, and I trust that You love me. You desire the best for my life. I fully give every area of my life to you." Only then, dear one, can the Lord fully bless His children. Only then can we experience the abundance of what He has planned for us.

Out of trust comes a gift far better than even our minds can imagine. For we serve a God Who can be trusted. We serve an Almighty God Who promises that He will take care of His children. And we serve a God Who loves us far more than we can comprehend. Yes, surrendering every dream, every gift, and every plan can prove to be very difficult. But out of that obedient trust in our Savior's provision comes the opportunity to live a life of blessing, a life of peace, and a life of hope. Out of that trust comes faith for a new day, joy in even the worst of circumstances, blessings far beyond our comprehension, and hope for a glorious future ahead.

"But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!”
My future is in your hands."
Psalm 31:14-15

"Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you."
Psalm 143:8

" 'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord.
'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"
Jeremiah 29:11

Hannah Grace

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

All His Promises are True

Today I come to you not with a long post or even a funny story. Today I come to you just with a honest heart, burdened with a very real but sometimes forgotten truth. For over the past few weeks, the Lord through various ways...whether it be through His Word, the radio, other believers, sermons at church...He has been impressing upon me that all of His promises are indeed true.

At times when I feel lonely, He reminds me that He is my Jehovah-Shammah: He is there. When fear creeps into my heart at the thought of an unknown future ahead, He reminds me that He has ordained every step that I take and will be faithful throughout my lifetime. Nothing is out of His control. And even the times that I lose sight and wonder if He has too, He lovingly holds me in His arms and comforts me with the message that all of His promises reign true, no matter what the circumstances may be. In one of my devotional books entitled, "My Utmost for His Highest," I read these God-ordained words last week:

"Keep the thought that the mind of God is behind all things strong and growing. Not even the smallest detail of life happens unless God's will is behind it. Therefore, you can rest in perfect confidence in Him."

This morning I woke up feeling an urgency to write this blog. For I wonder if today there may be many men and women of God who are feeling burdened with the cares of life, instead of hopeful in the promises of God. I wonder if there are many who are suffering some very unfortunate circumstances at this time in their life. Perhaps they have lost sight of Who is ultimately in control. But whatever the situation may be today, will you join together with me in believing that we serve a God Who is in control. He is our Jehovah-Jirah, the One Who has already provided for our needs even before we are aware of them. (Matt.6:8) He is our Elohim, our magnificant Creator. (Ps. 139) He is Jehovah-Rophi. Oh, how He provides healing for our weary hearts. (Ps. 103:1-3) He is our Jehovah-shalom. Jesus is our peace...a peace beyond our understanding. (Phil. 4:6-7)

I wanted to end this post with a song of encouragement. As you listen, may you once again be reminded of His faithfulness. Will you begin this day or end the day...whatever the case may be...truly trusting in the mighty hand of our Father? His promises never fail. He is a faithful God, providing for our needs today and giving us lasting hope for the beautiful future to come. Let's worship Him together.

"Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made."
Psalm 145:13
Hannah Grace

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Rock and My Fortress

This past week I had the privilege of visiting one of my dearest friends who now lives in her new "home" of Colorado. What a blessing it was to see her again and catch up on the things of life. Another amazing part of it all was that she lives in the of my favorite parts of God's magnificent creation. At different times within the week, the Lord used the picture of mountains to speak a magnificent truth within my life: He is my Rock, no matter what.

There is something about the beauty of majestic mountains. Perhaps it is the vast unfamiliarity of the sight of them...considering the relatively flatness of my home state. Or perhaps it is that when I look at these massive pieces of creation, it reminds me of my all-powerful, loving Father God. Whatever the reason...they are truly a breathtaking sight. As I was sitting in my coveted window seat on my flight out of Denver destined for one of the smallest airports I have ever been to, I was able to look out the window and see glorious far as the eye could see. Beautiful! I could have sat there all day. Until...we hit a series of turbulents, and I was almost sure that the safety instructions we received at the beginning of the flight were about to become a reality. As I continued to look out the window, I saw a lightening bolt flash way too close to my window. A sweet woman in the seat beside me assured me that these "bumps" were completely normal. I forced a smile and replied with: "Oh okay. That's good to know." Inwardly, I was thinking: "Please just let me get on the ground in one piece!" As I was periodically being jolted out of my seat, the song "The Solid Rock" began to play on my ipod. How fitting! It got me to thinking...Christ is the solid Rock on which I stand. My hope cannot be built on anything else. And even as the plane was completely unsteady in the winds of the storm, so the "winds" of life will shake anything in which I put my hope in besides Jesus Christ. How thankful I was that Christ is my anchor in the "storms" of life. He is my matter what. What a timely and beautiful reminder. Thank you, Lord.

And yet another time during the trip did God bring this truth to light. Nestled in the valley of the some of the most beautiful moutains that I have ever laid eyes upon lies the camp at which my friend is employed. While she was busy at work one morning, I decided to find a quiet place where I could spend some time in God's Word. While walking around camp, I found a picnic table with a gorgeous, breathtaking view. As I sat in awe of God's handiwork, I began to search the scripture for verses that refer to the mountains and of our Almighty God as the Rock. It was truly such an encouragement to read over and over again that my Heavenly Father is indeed the solid Rock on which I stand.

"The Lord is my rock , and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection." 2 Samuel 22:2-3

"I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. "

Psalm 18:1-2

"God's way is perfect. All the Lord's promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is a solid rock?"

Psalm 18:30-31

"Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord."

Psalm 36:5-6

At one point during the visit, I had the opportunity to go on a day hike to Handies peak. It was quite steep for this amateur mountaineer and quite a hike...but extremely worth it once we made it to the top. At certain portions during the trip, the way was rocky and the trail was unsure. It was difficult to know where to step in order to avoid slipping on the small pieces of rock. It was definitely...unsteady, unknown, and at some points downright unnerving. Yet, climbing this mountain brought so many verses to life. Traveling on that unsteady ground reminded me of God's promise that He is my anchor and rock. He has promised to hold me by the hand, so that I will not fall. As I cautiously walked along the trail, portions of these verses were running through my mind:

"God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights."

Psalm 18:31-32

"The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights."

Habakkuk 3:19

After spending the week with Jess, my visit came to an end. She dropped me off at once again the smallest airport known to mankind. After an extremely long flight delay, making my connection in Denver by literally five minutes, I made it home blessed by what the Lord had taught me over the week. Little did I know, He was not finished teaching me yet. While shopping at Costco before heading home, I greeted an employee as she was folding some clothing on display. Somehow we began talking about the weather of all things, and I brought up that I had just returned from Colorado. She began telling me of how great she thought it was that I was able to travel and told me I should do as much as I could before I was married with children. I expressed my desire for a husband and children, but told her that I knew that God had not ordained that yet in my life. I expressed my desire to wait patiently on Him and for His perfect will. It was at that point that she gave me a huge hug, and we discovered that we were both, in fact, believers. She began to share her testimony of God's faithfulness in her life. She was going through a very difficult time in her life, and she said a phrase that blessed my heart so greatly. She told me something to this effect: "Even in this storm of my life, the Lord is my rock and my fortress. He is my anchor." What a blessing! She encouraged my heart so much. She reminded me to wait on God's perfect timing and trust that His ways are indeed perfect. Another neat reminder that God is my Rock.

So after these numerous encounters...I feel as if I have a song in my heart. God is my Rock. I never have to fear an unknown road in my life, for He has gone before me and prepared the way. He makes me to be surefooted and keeps me from falling. Even in the "winds" of life, I can rest assured that He is the solid Rock on which I have built my hope. And even when the road seems unsteady and I feel as if any moment I will come crashing down on the path before me, He holds my hand and keeps me from stumbling. For both you and I.

Life can be hard, difficult, painful, and unsure. But we can rest in the hands of our Father. His promises are true, faithful, and enduring. Beautiful, isn't it? No matter what we face: He is our Rock and our Hope. He never changes, grows weary, or proves unfaithful. Praise Him. We can be sure that He has prepared the way for us...even in what feels like a unknown future. Such a much-needed lesson for me in this time of my life. Are you thankful for these promises?

Praise Jesus today that He is the faithful Guider of your steps, the sovereign Provider for your way, the mighty Holder of your hand, the solid Rock on which you stand, and the unfailing Hope for each day to come.

"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand...Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadly along his path..."

Psalm 37:23-24, 34a

Hannah Grace