Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Where to start with this one?

How about…

family

Those are very generic terms aren’t they…clan,generations, home etc. I was however thinking more specific things about what family means to you. Maybe something like this

What-does-family-mean-to-you

They are quite specific, and all things I would quite happily agree my family mean to me. How about you, do you have any specific words/terms that you’d use to describe what your family means to you?

Your Grace Still Amazes Me performed here by the International Staff Songsters of the Salvation Army

My faithful Father, enduring friend Your-Grace-Still-Amazes-Me
Your tender mercy is like a river with no wind
It overwhelms me covers my sin
Each time I come into your presence I stand in wonder once again
 
Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
’cause your grace still amazes me
Your grace still amazes me

Oh patient saviour, you make me whole
You are the author and the healer of my soul
What can I give you lord what can I say
I know there’s no way to repay you only to offer you my praise 

Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
Cause your grace still amazes me
Your grace still amazes me

Its deeper, it’s wider, it’s stronger, it’s higher
Its deeper, it’s wider, it’s stronger, it’s higher
Than anything my eyes can see

Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
Cause your grace still amazes me
Your grace still amazes me

Does God’s grace still amaze you?

If not, it’s time to fall on your knees and ask Him to help you rediscover His grace.

If His grace does still amaze you, it’s time to fall on your knees and praise Him.

A common answer to my questions regardless of where you are in your Christian experience…kneel down before God.

Tonight it is my turn to do the devotions in our band practice, so I thought I’d share with you the devotions I will be sharing with the band tonight:

I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe we’re now more than half way through November! It’s been one very quick year, however it’s certainly been a year I will never forget after the death of first my Dad in February, Aunt Mae (Mum’s sister) in April and since I wrote these devotions, my Aunt Mabel (Dad’s sister) died on Sunday.

Yes, it’s been a very tough year, but it’s also been a year that has challenged spiritually – My Dad did not believe in God, while my Aunt Mae was a true Christian lady, a lifelong Salvationist. Therefore I found myself thinking about the afterlife, my faith and the promises I’d made to God, and in turn asked myself the following questions:

  • Had I done all I could to share my faith with Dad?
  • Did he find God in his final days when he was no longer able to communicate with us?
  • Am I doing all I could to share my faith with others, especially those I love and care about?
  • Is my own faith what it ought to be?

My Aunt Mae’s faith, even when her dementia meant she no longer recognised us or was violent towards us, still shone through as she still talked about the Army, and asked what was happening at Rutherglen, who was bandmaster, and the strange one, was the carpet in the hall ok?! She talked of people who had long since been promoted to glory, but couldn’t remember what day of the week it was…having attended the Army all her days, it seemed the Army and all it meant to her was the small part of her she never lost when her dementia took over her personality.

There’s one song O Jesus I have promised to serve thee to the end, has become particularly special to me this year, not just because it was one of my Aunt Mae’s favourites and reminds me of her faith right up to the end, but because it has challenged me to reflect on my own faith.

So whenever we play Guardian of My Soul which features this song, I find it very emotional as it stirs up so many memories for me, as well as reminding me of the promises, I like my Aunt, have made to serve God all my days.

promiseO Jesus I have promised
To serve thee to the end
Be thou forever near me
My Master and my friend
I shall not fear the battle
If thou art by my side
Nor wander from the pathway
If thou wilt be my guide.
 
O Jesus, thou hast promised
To all who follow thee,
That where thou art in Glory,
There shall thy servant be;
And, Jesus, I have promised
To serve thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow,
My Master and my friend.

Each of us here tonight have promised to serve God all our lives.

I’ve been challenged this year to reflect on, and renew my promise to God to serve Him all my life.

How about you, is your promise to serve Him to the end, still as strong today as it once was?

Relationship_with_God

This last week my blog posts have focused on faith, culminating in finishing yesterday’s blog post by asking you:

Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you have faith in Christ?

So I asked you yesterday about your faith, but what the faith of those you love, your family and friends, do they believe in Jesus Christ?

Well for me that question has played very heavily on my mind since my Dad died earlier this year. Why? Because my Dad always said he didn’t believe in God and therefore, as far as I know, he died with no faith…

Having said that, several people have told me that because Dad had dementia and therefore found it difficult to communicate with us or understand what we were saying to him or asking of him, that doesn’t mean he didn’t find God, or more accurately God didn’t find him, before he took his final breath.

I’ve been struggling to come to terms with this for months, however some words from another family member have given me some comfort – Please remember as you read this that just 6 weeks after my Dad died, my Mum’s sister, my Aunt Mae also died:

Aunt Mae was a very proud and loyal Salvationist and although your dad wasn’t a believer, he’ll be watching over you proud that you are and I’m sure he will be up there now learning about what you, your mum and Aunt Mae have spent your lives celebrating! God will have a place for him, he was a great person with a huge heart. I don’t think there’s anything for you to wish you had done more, when someone lives their whole life a certain way without the guidance, maybe its hard to adapt. Aunt Mae will be showing him the light.

god-is-in-controlEven as I write this post, the tears are streaming down my face, because those words remind me that yes, Dad professed no faith for many years, but who knows what seed Mum, Aunt Mae and I may have planted and how that seed may have grown as Dad’s dementia took him from us. I’m reminded that in the last few months that Dad lived at home with Mum, he would burst into tears during some of the songs/hymns when Mum was watching Songs of Praise on a Sunday night. He could never tell us why he cried, however I now look back on those occasions and wonder, and pray, that somehow God managed to reach Dad through the music.

I have prayed so many times in these last few months that Dad found God before he died. I also continue to pray that God will use me to influence my other family members who have not yet given their heart to God, because when my time comes to leave this world, I want to be sure I’ll be reunited with my whole family in heaven – but, at this moment I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

If any of your loved ones have not yet accepted God into their life, I pray that they too will God before their time on earth is over.

faithHere are three definitions of Faith

  1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing.
  2. Belief that is not based on proof.
  3. Belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion.

There is however more to faith than just these base definitions. So what is faith?

Faith is a hope for things unseen, which are true.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen ~ Hebrews 11:1

In order for us to have real faith, we must be focused in Jesus Christ believing that Jesus exists, that He is the Son of God, and that He loves us.

For us to be saved we must have faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you have faith in Christ?

For the last couple of weeks the song What A Faithful God has been playing in my head. If I’m honest, the other day it got to a stage where I thought please shut up and go away, I know the song and I’m getting fed up listening to it!

However as I said in yesterday’s blog post Stay True, over these last few weeks I’ve found myself wandering on my own without considering God plan for me, and I now realise that putting this song in my head very minute of every day during this time was in fact Gods way of reminding me not to do anything without Him because He will always be faithful to me.

Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures . (Psalm 119:90)

Would it surprise you if I told you that having realised this truth a couple of days ago, that song has no longer been at the forefront of my mind! That is until this morning, because guess what we sang during our morning service?

God uses whatever methods He can to get His message through to us, however sometimes our stubbornness and selfishness prevent us from seeing His truth.

Make sure you listen to What God is saying to you, and if you find yourself getting frustrated by something, take a step back and see, is God trying to tell you something?

faith

 

I found the following quote written on a bit of paper in one of our books the other day, no idea who said it, but want to share it with you as it struck a chord with me:

Great faith is a product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs only come after great trials

We only gain life experiences by experiencing the good and the not so good bit of life. In the same way our faith in God can become stronger the more of life’s experience we face with God by our side.

So carry on experiencing life to the full, but remember to keep Christ at the centre of all you do, as only then will your life experiences help you grow in faith.

future-experience

struggleYesterday in Unsure? I spoke about how we have to be patient during tough times, as God is there and is listening to your prayers. I do understand how difficult that can be in reality, because when you’re struggling you just want your life to turn around and suddenly be great again, and that, I think, is why it’s during these times we often find ourselves questions God, and sometimes even questioning His existence.

However, just as I said yesterday, it’s during these times, where you faith in God must keep us believing in Him because if we keep believing in Him and praying, God will turn your mess into a miracle!

I’ve talked before about how a few years ago, I was in a very dark place, and felt as though God had deserted me, but somehow I kept trying to pray. I kept trying to pray, but often found I was unable to utter a single word, as all I did was cry, but I believe God was with during those days and He knew my deepest thoughts and feelings, and knew what I wanted to pray even though I couldn’t actually find the words to say.

At the time it just felt like God wasn’t there and so felt as though I was lost. However now, looking back, I can see that even during those darkest of times, God was there for me. He wasn’t there for me in the way I wanted, as He didn’t get me through those tough times as quickly as I would have liked, but He did send me someone who helped and supported me during those days.

If I had never faced those dark times, I do not believe my faith would be as strong as it is today, because by facing those tough times with God supporting me, I know now I can face anything because He is with me.

I hope and pray that though you may face difficulties and testing times in life, your faith keeps you strong in the knowledge that God is with you and He is listening to you prayers.

 

Have you ever wondered how your life would have turned out and how you would have coped with life , if you hadn’t accepted Christ as your saviour?

I have, particularly in these last few weeks as we’ve had to cope with the death of first my Dad and then my Aunt Mae.faith

Just after my Dad passed away, someone said to me that, “There are only two certainties on life, one that you have been born, and secondly, that you will die” – Despite this, we all find the death of a loved one very upsetting and difficult to cope with.

It’s therefore no surprise to me that during these difficult and stressful weeks, I’ve relied heavily on God to keep me strong for my Mum and focused enough make all the required arrangements etc. So much so, I actually feel as if I’ve been running on auto-pilot for weeks now, as every day seems to have been a bit of a blur and I’m not sure I can actually tell you what I did on any particular day since the middle of February!

That said, I’m not sure I would have been able to get through these weeks if God hadn’t been there with me, as there were times when I honestly felt I couldn’t cope with any more problems, but as you can tell, I got through those days, and that I simply put down to the fact that my faith reassured me that God is with me at all times, and is helping me when my own strength has gone.

Today I thank God for my faith. Without Him, these last few weeks would have been even harder to face than they were.

fear-or-faithLife can be a frightening experience at times, particularly during times of uncertainty. It’s also during times of uncertainty that we need our faith to be at its strongest. However, it’s often when times are tough for us that we question our faith and question God’s love for us.

Don’t let life’s problems weigh you down, stay strong and keep believing in Christ.

My thoughts for today are summed up nicely by the following quote I came across recently:

Both faith and fear may sail into your harbour, but allow only faith to drop anchor.