"Oh to Grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be.
Let thy goodness, like a fetter
bind my wandering heart to Thee!"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Cry Out Day and Night Before You

Praise God for the Psalms.


O LORD, God of my salvation;
I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you;
incline your ear to my cry!
For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am a man who has no strength,
like one set loose among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves.

You have caused my companions to shun me;
you have made me a horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call upon you, O LORD;
I spread out my hands to you.
Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the departed rise up to praise you?

Is your steadfast love declared in the grave,
or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
Are your wonders known in the darkness,
or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But I, O LORD, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
O LORD, why do you cast my soul away?
Why do you hide your face from me?
Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your dreadful assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long;
they close in on me together.
You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;
my companions have become darkness.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Amazing Hymns

Here are two hymns that we sang today in church. Wow God has a way with timing, huh? May they encourage you as they have encouraged me today.


Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best,
Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then, in every tribulation,
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation,
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till with Christ the Lord I stand.


Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Sweating Drops of Blood

Luke 22:44
"And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

I'm definitely writing this post tonight...broken hearted and confused. And yet, with a peace that surpasses any type of understanding that my mind tries to wrap itself around. My post tonight is going to be really simple, and hopefully God will use it to clear a lot of things up for some people...especially myself. My focus really shifted tonight towards thoughts of our great Redeemer- the One who through whom and by whom and for whom ALL things were created. Our great Mediator...our Advocate before the Father. Jesus Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father and is seated upon His throne. The Lord graciously led me to this verse that I posted above, Luke 22:44. This verse describes our Savior, my friends! This isn't describing a mere man walking upon the earth and enduring hardships. This is the perfect Son of God who, upon recalling his upcoming crucifixion and bearing of the wrath of God towards sin, was struggling so intensely! Praise God that we have a High Priest who has experienced the very hardships and emotions that we endure as human beings!

I also want to point out something that may be really obvious, but is really permeating my soul right now. It is the truth that God uses things that are so intense and painful to sanctify us and to bring good out of it all, for His glory. This is a verse of Jesus praying in agony so much so that He is sweating blood. Jesus knew He was about to go through the darkest time in human history- enduring the wrath of His Father. He knew this, and He was in pain over it. But yet, He remained sinless, and kept His focus upon the perfect plan of His Father. He knew that by enduring this horrible horrible crucifixion, so much good was on the other side, and the Lord's name was going to be ultimately lifted up.

O that we would learn from our Savior. O that we would humble ourselves enough to submit to the Lord's will in our lives no matter how much blood it causes us to sweat (figuratively speaking). If our Lord had to endure such agony while here on this earth, what makes us think that we can skip through life unscathed. As a Christian, one thing is for sure...deep, heart-wrenching afflictions should not come as a surprise. Why would our path be any different than our Lord's? Jesus Christ's death on the cross is proof that God uses those things which are of the utmost pain to bring the most good and the most glory to His name.

One could possibly object here, and say "but Susan, Jesus had perfect knowledge that even though He knew it was going to be grueling, everything in the end was going to work out for the better. In my life- in situation x- there's no guarantee that everything isn't going to fall apart on me...and cause me to hurt for the rest of my life."

Maybe I just quoted myself. hmm.

So here comes the scripture to rebuke me....as usual.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified."
Romans 8:28-30

How much more reassurance could we possibly ask for? First of all...all things work together FOR THE GOOD for those who are called according to his purpose. Wow. Seriously? Even this pain? Yes. Not to mention the verses that follow that basically should have every Christian jumping up and down praising the Most High for the work that is promised to take place in them. Its incredible. It's also incredible of how quickly I can let this eternal perspective go down the drain. Lord, please forgive me and grant me the grace to endure affliction like my Savior did: with Your perfect will in mind.

Read Luke 22:44 again. Jesus wasn't naive. He didn't put on a happy face and prance through the garden. His agony was felt in the depths of His soul. Being a Christian doesn't mean you hang up the phone after that gut wrenching phone call and put on a smile and act like you are ok when clearly your world has just been shaken to the core. It means that you deal honestly with the situation, and you are real about the pain that it is causing. So real in fact that it makes you sprint to your Savior to comfort you...and to remind you of His word...and His promises. Praise God for them. Being a Christian means that these fires of sanctification cause you to shelter yourself with prayer....just like Jesus did that night. "He prayed more earnestly." WOW. I pray that the Lord would draw me unto Himself through all of this. That I would run to Him, and do what my Savior did: pray more earnestly. These afflictions bring up the need to examine myself and hold myself up to the mirror of scripture, yet again. Praise God that He is faithful and worthy of our trust. Praise God for His perfect will and how all things are done according to His good pleasure and for the glory of His name. Please Lord...Please grant me this perspective...and continue to sanctify me. Please do the same for my brothers and sisters, Father. Thank you for the gift of repentance and salvation. May our hearts be filled with grattitude tonight, as we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Been Around the World....

Ok, So maybe I haven't quite been around the world...but it sure does feel like it! Since finals finished up the last week of April (and I was [temporarily] loosened from the reigns of college basketball) I have traveled to: Belize for a week on a mission trip, California for two weeks to see the boyfriend :), while I was out there we drove to Phoenix for a few days to visit with James White and his daughter Summer, went back home to Georgia for a week, and I am now in Kentucky visiting my extended family.

It's been an awesome month, but it is coming to a close, unfortunately. I will be returning back to Florida at the end of this week to get back to team training and also an internship at Sears. (It's my first real job ever lol). Balancing work and workouts could get interesting but at least it is only for 8 weeks :)

Anywho. The Lord has used this month to really really refresh me. It was probably the most long awaited month of my life, considering I finally got to see Lane after not seeing him for 5 whole months. Long distance relationships are quite tortuous. I have never relied so much on the grace of God in all of my life....which is probably the purpose of it then, huh?

Here is just a little taste of my time out in Cali. Lane and I took the video camera with us one night and after dinner we filmed a quick video promoting A.W. Pink's book "The Sovereignty of God." This book really did change my life, so I want to recommend it again to anyone who has never read it.

Here is a link to read it online for free: http://www.reformed.org/books/pink/