Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
Already 3 weeks into 2018, I feel like I forget about God’s grace as I retreat to my own survival mechanisms. I try to sleep 30 more minutes instead of jumping out of bed to pray and read the Word. Do I forget where my strength comes from? Am I relying on myself or God? I forget that I can confidently approach God’s throne at any time to receive mercy (compassion, forgiveness, deliverance from judgement) and find grace (unmerited favor, undeserving kindness and blessing) to help in time of need. I can ask God for help, and He will not only forgive me and withhold me from judgement from my sins, He will also extended unmerited favor, undeserving blessing that I will never be deserving of.
So even as I reflect on this past week and see my sins of self-reliance and laziness and comfort so clearly. I can still confidently draw near to the God’s throne this morning without condemnation and receive forgiveness and His blessing.
Jesus, it is easier sometimes to just try to float or survive. It is a fight against my flesh every second and every day. Help me to seek you first every day. Lord, help me to see what you are doing around my life instead of me trying to cling onto whatever I desire. What do you desire for my life? What are you doing Lord? Give me eyes to see.
It’s so strange to me to think this year is over, and I am entering into a new year.
Some part of me feels not ready to start 2018, but another part of me is really excited to see what this new year will bring.
2017, oh you have been lonely at times, challenging, dark, pressing, isolating, tearful, joyful, hope-filled, bright, basking with light, and yet so so good. I started 2017 renewed from a youth winter retreat I went on with my brothers. I met a great pastor there who was very encouraging of my future endeavor as a teacher even though in the present I was working at a restaurant. I was filled with hope of what God would do and that hope was what I clung onto as I worked at that restaurant.
In one year, I went from working as a server to being unemployed again to being a grad student and an assistant teacher. I went through a season of wilderness, harvest, and then the wilderness again.
Learning to embrace my many new identities. Failing altogether as I do a poor job of juggling, but God’s grace being more than enough. Grace that covers me as a grad student. Grace as I teach and make many mistakes. Grace as I learn what it means to care for God’s sheep. Grace as I learn that I have lots of room to grow in terms of relationships.
A year filled with God’s many blessings. He blessed me with the opportunity to live with my family when I wondered where I would live. He blessed me with great coworkers who are passionate and adorable students who are easy to love. He blessed me with continued relationships from college and church as I got to know people on a deeper level. He blessed me with a new relationship which was so unexpected, but one of the greatest blessings of this year. And always God was there. He was with me. Even as I worried and fretted, and was fearful. He was there. He gave me strength and loved me constantly and consistently. Even when I chased after many things but not Him. He waited for me always so patiently.
And now 2018. What will you bring?
My biggest prayer for this next year that I will not allow my past insecurities and lies about my identity hold me back from stepping into everything God has called me to do. I pray that I will be more fearless of man and more fearful of Him.
I’ll stand in awe of you Lord.
Yes, I’ll stand in awe of you God.
And I’ll let my words be few.
Jesus, I am so in love with you.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2nd Corinthians 4:17-18
Our affliction at this moment is light and momentary. May we have patience as we wait for an eternal weight of GLORY that is beyond everything we have seen. So even though it is easier for us to look at our current situation with our narrow view, we must look to the things that we cannot SEE with our own eyes. Anything we are going through in our life right now will only last for a short time in comparison to an eternal life we will have with Jesus. May we be patient as we wait on the things we cannot see.
Lord. I confess that my motivation in my life was to make myself the best version of myself that is possible. I wanted to be able to one day receive praise from man and feel complete in front of man. I wanted to be able to boast that I am capable and that I am talented. I wanted to be able to create something or say something that I could take credit for. But Lord more and more as I live this life, I realize nothing I have in my life is mine. I realize there is nothing I can boast in that I can say I did this on my own. Everything God is from you. So Lord starting today, I want my greatest motivation in life is to wait on you. I’m sorry God that even though I say this now, that my heart will change again and will be fickle and try to take the glory for myself. Even then, Lord bring me back to you.
I stand in awe of you God.
This past Sunday, I was humbled when I entered Anna’s home. Right when we entered, she was so hospitable and loving. When we told her, wow this food looks amazing, she said, “Awh, thanks to God. I was praying the whole time I was cooking that it would be good. I think, He wanted us to have a good meal together.”
I try to think of times when I am literally speaking prayers to God as I am doing something like cooking a meal for friends when I need His help. Usually when there is something that I am scared about, I will pray the week leading up to it. But during the event where I really need God, I usually forget and I do not pray. Many times I worry and get confused and rely on my own understanding. Anna’s example was really humbling to me, it made me realize that this posture of total dependence on God was something I could translate to all aspects of my life. Especially as I am in school right now, there are many assignments I am confused about and I do not understand how to do. But I can pray to God for discernment and wisdom as I do the assignment, I can pray before, during and after. Or when I feel like I am slowly losing control of a class while I am teaching, and I don’t know what to do, I can pray. Any time I feel tired or feel like I am about to grab a piece of chocolate for solace, I can pray instead of relying on sugar. Or when my mind is itching to go on social media to look at pretty pictures, I can pray and ask God to fill my heart’s desire instead.
Thankful that this sweet sister provides an example to me of how I can live my life every day, and I can literally rely on God with my every breath and every strength. For He takes care of every small and big detail in our life. This posture of total trust in the Lord gives me peace even as I think about it. Isn’t what our life on earth is about anyways? Giving all our days to Jesus and partnering in His work as an obedient and faithful servant.
Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually [longing to be in His presence].
-1 Chronicles 16:11 (AMP)