Ornament of Grace

Ornament of Grace
February 4, 2019

Wait! Before you read any further, find a quiet spot- a place where you can fully concentrate- and allow God to search your heart. It actually might be best to save this article to use in your devotional time. How about tomorrow morning? But don’t forget! Plan to read with an open heart and focused mind…

We are now several weeks into the New Year. Do you have some areas of your life you want to improve during the next 12 months? What are your personal goals?

As I have pondered these thoughts, the Lord impressed upon my heart to choose a word that encompasses my inner desire. One word that will impact all other areas of my life! For me, that one word is “Faith.”

Is there a particular verse in the Bible that “jumps out at you” with a jolt of conviction whenever you read it? Hebrews 11:6 does this for me. “But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” This verse is so clear, yet so final. There is only one way to actually please the Lord. It brings me to tears to imagine serving the Lord for years, doing all kinds of “good things,” only to come to the end of my life never having actually pleased God. Why? Because pleasing Him is not in the “doing” but rather, in the “believing!” Believing the right things about God will naturally result in right actions. What is it exactly that I should believe?

The rest of that verse gives the answer. I must believe God is Who He says He is! When I am thinking correctly, this is a very simple concept. But why, do I, so often, live in contradiction to the obvious?

The Bible tells us Who God is. He is All knowing (Omniscient). He is everywhere all at one time, (Omnipresent) He is all Powerful (Omnipotent). God is the Creator of everything we are aware of…and far more than we could ever comprehend! We are not in charge. Every human being was created to respond to God, rather than “tell” God what He should do, as is so often the case. No matter what our finite minds convince us of, we cannot control the circumstances of our lives, or the world around us. It does not matter if I understand everything, nor does it matter how I feel about it. I must believe God and simply take Him at His Word, if I ever hope to please Him.

What we believe about God is critical. It is our foundation, and literally the key to our whole life! God is faithful, He keeps His Word and He has shown us unspeakable love, in reaching down to rescue lost, hopeless, undeserving people, many of whom actually hate Him! Almighty God has demonstrated and extended the ultimate act of love! If we will just believe and accept this, our eternal soul will be saved and we will be drawn to seek Him more, day by day.

Godly love is powerful, filling a deep void in the human heart. Hebrews 11:6 portrays God as a “Rewarder.” He gives and gives and gives. He is so good! I have often pondered the thought “What else could God do, that He has not already done, in my life or in the world around me, to prove Himself to me? I am thankful He did not make us all robots, programmed to obey, honor and worship Him without choice.

Knowing these things, why is it, that when the storms of life come, I start to question, worry, doubt, fear, and scheme in an effort to solve my problems? I must be honest. It is my pride- my depraved nature- that tells me to go my own way, disregarding Godly principles and Biblical truth. I start to believe my own thoughts, instead of God’s infallible Word. My sinful heart deceives me. “There is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death…” While my flesh might pull me in this direction, God’s indwelling Holy Spirit convicts my heart to acknowledge the folly of this choice. True faith is not based on my feelings, nor is it based on what I can see or understand. True faith is belief in action! It is the personal choice to put my trust and belief in the unchanging, Almighty God and His Promises, as revealed in His Word!

We live in an unstable world. So many things bring fear and insecurity. Somehow “normal life” just doesn’t seem very normal, anymore! “When they shall say peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” The instability around us causes saints to lose focus and develop a fearful mindset. As we navigate the seas of life, we start to think it is up to us to figure everything out! Solid Biblical Truth is forsaken, when we trust only in what we can see with our eyes, or feel in our emotions.

Think about this… the situations that cause us the most anxiety and fearfulness are usually related to our relationships, those areas of our lives closest to our hearts and emotions. Consequently, these same things are the hardest to surrender to the Lord. Whether a pastor or a person in the pew, every one of us suffer, struggle, and often stress out over, basically the same sorts of things. Life is synonymous with problems and every human has them!

Do you grow tired of the struggle? Like me, do you find yourself wasting precious time and energy futilely trying to figure out what to do, only to realize later on, that you are operating completely in the flesh, never having once thought to seek God’s voice in the matter? Do you wish you were better at keeping the right focus at the onset of a storm or squall that suddenly shows up on the horizon of your life? Oh, the ways we humans are alike!

What is swirling around in your head these days? What is causing you anxiety or fearfulness? Are you worried about the health of a loved one? Do you wonder, “Whom will I marry or will I ever even get married?” ”What if my child doesn’t learn to control himself, or get over this dreadful sickness, or get the victory over this sinful habit in his/her life?” “I fear I’m failing as a mother! What if my husband leaves me like he has threatened to do?” “I am not good enough, smart enough…” “What if I have cancer?” “What if we lose our house due to financial problems?” “Will we have what we need for retirement?” “What if our marriage keeps going down this destructive path?” “What if we cannot pay off these bills?” “What if our adult child ends up in rebellion?” “What if we can never have children or a home of our own?”

Have you noticed that fear is endless, joyless and hopeless?

Recently, after experiencing my own fear induced panic session, God redirected my thoughts. Perhaps the instruction and comfort He spoke to me will be a blessing to you as well…

First of all, “Be still, and know that I am God.” I know all about what you are going through. I am in control—always have been, and always will be. I am in charge, and no matter what man thinks, “I will be exalted among the heathen. I will be exalted in the earth.” Take a deep breath. Calm down and relax in My Presence. You may not like the circumstances of your life right now, but exercise the will I gave you to praise Me, anyway! I am holy and I inhabit the praises of My people. The exercise of continual praise in your heart keeps your focus on Me, and not yourself. This is key to the health and stability of your mind. Do not make excuses for yourself. Praise Me for all your blessings! Choose to “Rejoice in the Lord alway.” Praise will keep you balanced and protected from depression and self-pity. You are not alone. You have My promise, “I will never leave you”. You can count on Me, because, “I am the Lord and I change not”. Be careful to guard your mindset. Don’t believe everything you think. Remember, “your thoughts are not my thoughts and your ways are not my ways.” If you will not believe Me, you can never please Me. Determine to only believe the thoughts I give you in My Word. I know you have daily challenges- things that seem hard for you. I am your Helper and your Refuge. Remember to come to Me first, before you get caught up in your own thoughts and emotions. Truly hear Me when I say, “Fear not, I will help thee.” Don’t get ahead of Me. My Sovereignty is manifest in the timing of events in your life. You cannot figure this out. Don’t try. Just be content to follow Me, step by step.

Bring Me the burdens of your heart. Pour out your concerns before Me. I wholeheartedly invite you to “cast your care upon Me.” You were not meant to carry your burdens alone. My Word says, “In everything, give thanks.” Your faith in Me will expand when you practice thankfulness. You do not see it, but long before your mind can comprehend it, I have the answer already decided. I am in your future. When your requests come to mind, continue to thank Me for the answers that are on the way. It is faithless and you will live in a constant state of turmoil, if you continue to hash and rehash your concerns. Do not allow yourself to gaze too long at the problems all around you. You will sink under the weight of it all. Instead, fix your eyes on Me by thanking Me for what I am doing in your life and in your present circumstance. Do this by faith, and it will infuse joy and lightheartedness into your spirit. Do not allow yourself to be influenced by your emotions. They will change, and they will deceive you. I am greater than all of that. I have overcome the world, and I seek to help you overcome as well.

Do not judge Me by human standards. I am all-powerful. You cannot fathom the depth of My potential to meet your needs. I am “able to do exceedingly above all that you ask or think”. Never forget that confidence, belief, and patience are absolutely required in order for you to attain My perfect Will in your life. Some so casually brush the warnings aside, even though I have stated these things very clearly in My Word. Take heed that you do not miss it. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward, for ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

You are My child. I love you with an unconditional, unspeakable love that you will never understand. Don’t try to figure it out. You never will. Like everything else, I ask you to just accept it by faith. Faith in Me must be an ongoing exercise that continues until that day, when it is finally lost in sight, and we meet face to face. You will please Me only when you exercise Faith. This is how I have designed the world. There is no other way. Making that choice becomes easier to do when you spend time in My Presence.

So, just determine to …“Be still, and know that I am God…”

Scriptures to Study: Psalm 22:3, 46:10-11; Lamentations 3:25; Isaiah 41:13; 55:8-9;
Malachi 3:6; Philippians 4:6-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; 5:18