I hope this finds you safe and warm as well as those you call your own :). (That was kind of a weird opening statement, wasn't it? Well, I am weird...and I'm okay with that) This upcoming Easter holiday has got me feeling even more melancholy and nostalgic than usual (and that's saying something!). In a way, I suppose it's a good thing...I've previously found that it's when I think and meditate on the "regular" things in life that I'm open to hear His still, small voice and I'm able to see the tiny glimmers of Him in my everyday life.
Lately, things have been...rough...to say the least. Doubts have surfaced. Negative voices have been excessively loud. These things...tend to wear a person out. And I don't know about you, but when I'm worn out, I tend to have a generally low opinion of my self...and we all know what that means...Sarah starts sending out invitations to the biggest pity party of the year. But I was able to cut the "Poor-Sarah-she's-got-it-so-tough" party short thanks to a gentle but firm reminder from my beloved Pastor, Jeffrey A. Lashley. From the pulpit last weekend, he said to us (the congregation at Pentecostals of Peoria) that when we are--to quote L.M. Montgomery--"in the depths of despair" if we can get our eyes off of ourselves and our situations and focus on God, we will feel better. Pastor suggested that we should sing about Him and His greatness in midst of dark trials and His light would shine through. This may seem elementary to you and I guess in a way it is, but I needed the reminder. And, in the last few days, I've put his suggestion to the test, and it worked! When I was feeling low, I called to memory songs and Scriptures that spoke of the greatness and faithfulness and love of God, and I would feel better.
One Scripture that helped in particular this week, was Ephesians 2:1-10. Which reads:
"It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing."
If I'm understanding that right, and I'd like to think that I am, that is basically saying that He's got control of this. He doesn't need my help. There's nothing I can DO to save myself or make Him love me anymore or any less...I am saved by His grace alone, I just have to receive it and trust in it and Him.
Thank You, Jesus, for the grace You bestow on me every day. Thank You that it follows me everywhere I go and is always there when I need it. Thank You for this upcoming Easter Holiday and everything that it represents. Thank You for the sacrifice You made...for me. I know that if I had been the only person that would ever need saving, You still would have endured Calvary and conquered Death, Hell, and the Grave. That's how much You love me. And I love You, because You first loved me.
Love, Sarah D
See His Grace at work...for me...and for you.