Experiencing God (January)

“Every day will I bless thee;
and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.”

(Psalm 145:2) 

It is hard to believe that we stand on the threshold of a brand new year! I love the fresh start of a new year and am excited about what the Lord will do in 2014. I also am blessed as I reflect upon God’s blessings and lessons in the journey of 2013. How many tender mercies He has daily shown (Lamentations 3:23), and things He has taught me about Himself. This past year has been one of the most enriched times in my walk with the Lord.

Not because it has been the easiest. Quite the contrary.

But I’ve experienced great joy and blessing in 2013, because I have experienced Him. I look back and see God’s great faithfulness to me each day. Through the fire, God has shown to me His overwhelming goodness, His strength, and His precious Word. And it is there, in the pain of my own weakness, that I have come to know the Lord Jesus as never before. And oh, how faithful the Lord is. Christ leads us every step of the way and He is what really matters in my life. As I have learned to “be still and know that He is” (Psalm 46:10), I have experienced Him in all of His glorious attributes…

He is

He is. He always will be. He is God, and as an eternal Being, He is eternally my Father and gentle Shepherd! There is nothing in earth or in the heavens that can prevail against my Father or end His existence. The joy that this never-changing truth brings to me, as His child, is truly too deep to describe. This Lord is my own God, Creator, Savior,  strength, song, Guide, conqueror, protector…and He can never change or die (Malachi 3:6)! I can trust Him no matter what storms may arise or opposition assails, for He is with me and will never forsake me. “For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). Oh, what glorious truth. In the journey of life, we need to often quiet our minds of our troubles, set aside our fears, rest in our trial, and just know that God is.

“Some of the most rapturous moments
we will know will be those we spend in reverent admiration of the Godhead.
In those holy moments the very thought of
change in Him will be too painful to endure.”
-A.W. Tozer

He is good

How unspeakably good our God is. He is good apart from anything He does, creates, blesses us with—despite who we are, how we change, how we sin, whether we obey, whether we understand—He is good no matter what. Our Almighty Father can never do anything that is not good. We may face a shattering loss, death, sickness, or grief, but it can never change Who God is. Yes, we often do not understand how God can workall things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28), but it is His promise to us, and we know that He WILL indeed do work everything for His ultimate good and glory. We must cling to this truth no matter what trials come and tempt us to stop trusting Him! God is the only One worthy of our trust, and we must cling to Him like Job—“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15).

“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard,
nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen,
O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared
for him that waiteth for him.”
(Isaiah 64:4)

He is gracious and gentle

It is overwhelming for me to think of God’s gentleness to His people. He is not a distant father orchestrating the details in our lives without love, care, mercy, and gentleness. Rather, He is a very close, tender, gracious Father Who is right here, intimately involved in our hearts, feelings, desires, prayers, and though He does do things in our lives that can be very difficult, He always does so with great tenderness. He has His arms wrapped around us, hiding us in His secret Place—under His wing (Psalm 91). And in the shadow of His mighty wings, there is nothing that can harm us. There, we can experience His tender love and promises to us in His Word, in the midst of great hardship. We can cling to Him and find Him all-sufficient and caring about our troubles. There we can know that even in the difficulties of life, He cares and loves us with His everlasting love. There we can trust in His goodness, though in the darkness of the night we cannot “see” it. We can know that when the sun breaks through the clouds, we will stand in utter awe of our Lord’s marvelous love and glory. Ponder the tenderness this passage portrays of our dear Shepherd:

 “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd:
he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom,
and shall gently lead those that are with young.”
(Isaiah 40:11)

He is sufficient

…after all, He is Jehovah Jireh, and that name tells us…

that you can trust God always;
that no promise of His ever fails;
that He does all things well;
that out of all seeming loss and destruction of human hopes,
He brings blessing.
…because the Lord will provide!
-J.R. Miller

Our Jehovah Jireh is our only source of strength, yet so often we will not acknowledge or recognize our complete dependency and need for Him. Therefore, He uses trials in our lives to show us our own weakness, doubt, fear, and struggles—and when we see that we cannot overcome them without HIM, we fall at His feet, begging for His strength. He always hears our cries, and has promised, “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them” (Isaiah 41:17). God understands completely our weakness, and He alone is sufficient to meet that need and give us strength to press on. How good it is to experience His power, in its fullness!

“For thou hast been a strength to the poor,
a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm,
a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones
is as a storm against the wall.”

(Isaiah 25:4)

It is through death, the darkest mountain, that we lay hold on eternal life,
the greatest triumph.
In the same way, it is through conflict that we discover God’s true peace.
It is through weariness that we experience God’s limitless strength.
It is through despair that we realize God’s bright hope.
It is through rejection that we feel God’s faithful acceptance.
It is through need that we find God’s perfect fulfillment.
It is through a mountain of difficulty that we reach the greatest heights.
Without the steep climb, we would not know the summit.
Without the pain, we would not recognize the healing.
Without the need, we would not enjoy its fulfillment.
-Unknown

He is always Victor

Sometimes we need a little reminder of how great our God is. When we feel engulfed by a trial, we need to step back and take a fresh look at GOD. At His power and sovereignty. Here are some notes I wrote in my journal one day, when I stopped to contemplate the Lord.

Just Who is my God—and what can He do? Today my faith in the One I long to meet needed a reminder, so I read through a list I made last year about God’s attributes displayed in the Old Testament. Imagine all of the greatest things in the world — and then multiply that 1000x — and that is MY God!! He is beyond all of my wildest imaginations. Truly I have nothing to ever doubt or fear, because His promises stand true and firm.

Ponder some of the incredible things He has done in the past. Joseph — sold by his own brothers into slavery. I can’t fathom his grief and loneliness through years of slavery and imprisonment. Yet, he chose to be faithful through those long days, and eventually the utter impossible happened — he was exalted as ruler of the entire land of Egypt, and later reunited with his own father and brothers. And Gideon — he had “too many men” in his army. God wanted the glory to fight his battle for him — and He did! Think of how many times God spared David’s life. And Daniel, a man who feared and trusted God even if it meant he would be dashed to pieces by lions. Countless times in God’s Word I see how He turned lives up-side down, using difficulties to bring joy and blessing. Esther. Rahab. Hannah. Elizabeth. Mary. God’s people have faced the most impossible, grievous, difficult trials and situations that can be imagined — and God delivered them from them ALL.

There is an entire cloud — countless gathering — of saints who have gone before and can testify to His faithfulness.

And this is my God. HE is my Guide even unto death (Psalm 48:14).

“To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.” (Isaiah 40:25-26)

He is my Guide

The Lord is truly more glorious than I can imagine. I find such joy in knowing that I will walk through all of this earthly life with Him at my side—Him as my Guide. I know He will never fail me, and He will go with and before me throughout the journey of life, drawing me ever closer to Himself along the way.

But best of all—I know that I will be spending not only this earthly life with the Lord, but also a coming eternity—in His presence! Throughout the unending annals of eternity, I will catch brighter glimpses of His holiness, and that joy will be all the more precious because of these earthly trials (2 Corinthians 4:18).

“And it shall be said in that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him,
and he will save us: this is the LORD;
we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
(Isaiah 25:9) 

We do not know when the Day will be, when our Lord calls us Home. Sister, do you know my God as your Savior and Guide? If you have not trusted Him with your eternal soul for salvation, please do not let a day of this new year go by without yielding to His merciful call for repentance (Romans 3:23-25). Call unto Him, and be saved. Embark on the greatest journey of your entire life!

At His mercy,

P.S. What did the Lord teaching you about Himself this past year? Was there a particular passage of Scripture that blessed you? We would love to hear from you and what the Lord has taught you – please share in a comment!

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