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