Tag Archives: Trusting God

But This I Call To Mind

I am learning that Jesus must be enough. I have not fully apprehended that yet. Being honest, I would say that for me it is more like: Jesus + all of my kids leading good and settled lives is enough. Or, Jesus + health is enough. Or, Jesus + a life completely void of stress or pain or worry is enough. But, these are false equations and life this side of glory will never be perfect. If I count on “Jesus +”, then Jesus will never be enough.

I confess, it is hard for me to trust God!

Day by day looms a battle, will you trust God or yourself? Will you trust God or your circumstances? The truth of the glorious Gospel may be right in front of me, but I grope this way and that and so often fail to grab on to it. What a needy sinner I am!

Thank the Lord that the point where I am overwhelmed by my failure to trust Him is the very point where the truth of the cross still reigns.

Campfire

Campfire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No matter how useless and dark things may look to me, the Lord is faithful to keep a tiny spark of hope burning deep in my soul. Sometimes I can barely see it, let alone feel it.

A tiny flickering fire seen from a distance does not warm a man, but it will make him remember what warmth feels like and how cold he feels so far away from it and that it is none else but the Lord Himself that bids him to come near.

I would have extinguished any glimmer of hope long ago had the spark not been eternal and so graciously set ablaze by the Lord and His blessed promises.

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.
 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”   Lamentations 3:21-24

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Prayer for My Grandson

On December 24, 2012, our daughter gave birth to a 6 pound 15 inch, healthy baby boy. She named him Kash. I am beyond thrilled to be a grandmother, or as I want to be called, “Oma.” I am awed by the love I already have for this little life. I thought  my days of loving and caring for babies were gone forever, but no, God has blessed me with another opportunity to do so. I am so looking forward to being a part of my grandson’s life as he grows. I’m so excited about teaching him about Jesus! What an amazing grace this is!

Praying Hands (Dürer)

Praying Hands (Dürer) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim Your might to another generation, Your power to all those who come.  Psalm 71:18

Heavenly Father,
You already know everything about this new baby boy who is now a part of our lives. You knew the precise moment he would make his appearance and the exact number of days he will live on this earth. His personality will not come as a surprise to you. You know what his strengths and weaknesses will be, whether he will prefer carrots or peas, Oreos or chocolate chip cookies. This precious boy has been in your mind and heart for all of eternity. You have formed him and knit him together!

If we could count your thoughts toward him, they would number more than every grain of sand on every shore and in every ocean. Every hair on his head is numbered. This little baby is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Father, my prayer above all is that Kash would come to know You at a young age. Please give  him an awareness of your amazing love that stops at nothing for us, a love vast enough to include the sacrifice of Your only Son, that whoever would call upon His name would be saved.

Lavish your grace on my grandson, Lord! Equip him to be a mighty man of faith, loving and serving You for Jesus’ sake all the days of his life. Make evident to Kash the certainty of your care for him in this very uncertain world. Lord, bless Kash with understanding and wisdom beyond his years and with an early appreciation for the truth of Scripture. Let him see beyond temporary pleasures to the everlasting treasure of an inheritance that will never fade away. Let him taste the freedom that comes through a life lived in obedience to your Word. Grant Kash the adventure of walking by faith and not by sight, trusting in Jesus for everything he needs.

Father, it is a misplaced hope that Kash will live out his days free of heartache and difficulties; we know real life is not that way. So, I place my hope for Kash squarely on you. In humble expectation, I trust that whatever trials he may face; he will never face them alone. Thank you for your promise to work all things together for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose.

I pray that in times of joy or times of trouble, Kash would be found grateful and trusting in his Heavenly Father who loves him more than I could ever imagine and who is able to do far more abundantly than I could even ask or think.

Thank you Father for hearing my prayer.
In Jesus Name, Amen!


Run!

56/365 morning run

56/365 morning run (Photo credit: kharied)

I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. (Psalm 119:32)

Oh, Christian, run hard after God’s commands. His yoke is easy and His burden, light. His path is free of snares and traps. He goes before you to smooth the way. Follow close. The way is narrow, but well-marked.

Run without fear, for His perfect love casts out fear. Run without guilt; your sins are forgiven. Run without worry; God will provide. Do you love Him? Are you called? Then run without question, for He makes all things work together for good.

Run without doubt, for He promises you wisdom. Run without thirst; living water is yours. Run without hunger; He is the bread of life. Run by faith, for by it you are justified. Run with joy, for therein lies your strength. Run in love, for that is the greatest commandment of all. Run and take heart; He has overcome the world.

Run for His sake. Run by Grace. Run that He may be glorified. Run well, and do not faint.

Run with abandon, beloved. Has He not set your heart free?

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel


Grieving With Those Who Grieve

SERMON NOTES – PASTOR MILTON VINCENT
November 25, 2012 – Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

Rejoice with those who rejoice, grieve with those who grieve. Romans 12:15

This verse is a description of how to love one another. Love expresses itself by rejoicing with those who rejoice and grieving with those who grieve. This is a call to relationship with one another. In this way, we render ourselves vulnerable to the joys and griefs of others.

FIVE THINGS YOU WILL WANT TO DO IN ORDER TO LIVE OUT THE ETHIC OF ROMANS 12:15 AND GRIEVE WITH THOSE WHO GRIEVE:

1. Appreciate the fact that the capacity to grieve with those who grieve is a precious gift.
A. An inability to grieve with those who grieve is one key characteristic of a psychopath.
-Even the unsaved have the capacity through God’s common Grace to grieve with those who grieve.
B. The capacity to grieve with those who grieve protects us from many evils.
-The ability to empathize with others and thought of the grief we would bring loved ones if we were to sin against them can keep us from sin.
-Grieving with those who grieve is a key to relationship, friendship, ministry, counseling, and the overall health of the church.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Cor. 12:26

2. Realize all that you are being called to inside of this instruction to grieve with those who grieve.

Includes:
A. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow that God has allowed in both of your lives. Grieving together.
B. Grieving with a person who is grieving where God has allowed  a sorrow into their life and not yours.
-Paul calls us here to step outside of ourselves and make ourselves vulnerable to the grief of others.
C. Grieving with a person who is grieving during a season in which you find yourself rejoicing (or grieving).
-Setting aside your own grief (or joy) to grieve (or rejoice) with others.
D. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow not as great as the sorrow that you yourself are grieving over.
-Humbling yourself to enter into the lesser grief of others.
E. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow they have brought on themselves.
-Luke 15:20 (story of prodigal son).
-Not rejoicing over “what they had coming to them”.
-We can look at them and their sin and say, “That’s me and Jesus came to me!”
-No “I told you so” attitude.
F. Grieving with a person who is grieving over a sorrow that you know will be short-lived.
-John 11:33-35 (the resurrection of Lazarus).
-Jesus was moved with compassion and wept with them even though He knew that Lazarus would be raised from the dead.
G. Grieving with a person who is grieving over hurts that you have caused.
-When you sin against someone, make a true apology which includes grieving with the person you have hurt and sinned against.
-Owning and entering into the hurt you have caused.

Apologies are moral events that have real power to heal. -Susannah Meadows

H. Grieving with a person who is grieving before you impart wisdom to them.
-Paul does not say preach or lecture with those who are grieving.
-You may really have wise words for the person who is grieving but if you skip grieving with them your wise words will only be an irritant.
-Don’t stay safely outside the other’s circle of grief and try to lob truths into it. Enter into their pain first.
-Words of wisdom are more effective when we first enter into the other person’s circle of pain.
I. Grieving with a person who is grieving even though they are grieving in a way you think is inappropriate.
-i.e. longer, more intensely, hurtfully than you deem appropriate.
-Especially when it is grief over a hurt you have caused.
-Sometimes people may even grieve in ways that hurt you–i.e. acting out, etc.
J. Grieving with a person who is grieving even though they are grieving in a way that is different than how you express your grief.
-People are different and grieve in different ways.

3. Let the compassion of God revealed in the Gospel shape and move you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 12:1; “by the mercies of God”.
-God has great compassion for us.
-God sent Jesus to save us because He was moved to do so.
-Rather than moving away from us, God moves toward us in the Gospel.
-The Gospel radically changes us into compassionate people.
-Isaiah 53:3; Jesus despised, a man of sorrows…
-Emmanuel = God with us. Jesus entered into our griefs and sorrows.
-In the Gospel we have the ultimate empathetic friend.

4. Let the ongoing sympathy of God revealed in the Gospel shape and move you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 8:22-23
-The Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26).
-God groans with us in our brokenness.
-We always have the Spirit to express our griefs and groaning to God when we don’t know how.
-Hebrews 4:15; …we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses…
-Grieving with those who grieve reveals the heart of God to others.

5. Let the hope of the Gospel shape and free you to grieve with those who grieve.
-Romans 8:28; Knowing that for those who love God all things work together for good.
-When we grieve with others, we guarantee that joy, when it does come, will be our joy too.
-When we go through our own grief, God is deepening our ability and capacity to grieve with others.

Paul calls us here into something rich and deep–the essence of our community with one another. In this we display the heart of God to others. Rejoice with those who rejoice and grieve with those who grieve.


The Glorious Benefits of Trials

Sermon Notes-Brad Lay (our missionary to Albania)
November 4, 2012-Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.         1 Peter 1:6-9

4 Wonderful Benefits of Trials in the Lives of Believers

1. Focus on final salvation. (v. 5-6)
-Anticipating the coming of Christ.
-We try to make the “now” comfortable.
-In the midst of trials, we long for heaven, our final salvation.
-Trials provide the dark background against which our faith shines.

2. Genuine, God-glorifying faith. (v. 7)
-The purpose of trials: “so that the tested genuineness of your faith…”
-Testing proves our faith is real.

3. A walk full of love, faith, and joy. (v. 8)
-This is not a command or exhortation, but Peter is telling them what they are doing.
-Peter is reminding them of the reality and result of new birth-you love Jesus whom you have not seen.

4. Progressive and final salvation. (v. 9)
-Yes, they are already saved and justified.
-But the final result of that kind of faith is salvation.
-Our faith is tested and becomes stronger, taking us all the way to the finish line.

Note from Terrie: My notes here fail to do Brad’s sermon justice. It was an encouraging word from the Lord. I would recommend that you listen to the sermon when it is posted on the church website. I was blessed, and I’m sure you would be, too!

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie


Old Woman

OLD WOMAN
by Terrie van Baarsel

English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a wi...

English: Portrait of old woman sitting by a window. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The treasures of this world
Once held close
Are not so tightly clasped
Nor grasped
She wonders why they were once so important.

Years have fled
Paring down essential matters
Her history written
By a Sovereign Decree of Holy Love
And this is what stands out
Alone
Above the rest.

What stories she tells!
(While silent.)
What praises she sings!
(In the quietness of her affections.)
And to the God she once trusted
She extends her hands
And yet trusts.

She is almost there
And does not lose heart
She is almost home
And Christ, the lover of her soul
Gives grace.

Dull eyes see farther.
Still lips speak clearer.
Weak hearts love harder.
Aged beauty is beauty still.
A lifetime of dreams
Lie dormant
Tucked neatly in folds of skin
But dreams rise again
When watered
By eternal springs of glory.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18


Understanding God’s Love

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

Believers in Christ know and receive the love of God in countless ways. It is written all over the cross, for God so loved the world. Our justification and adoption, His care and provision, and His Divine power granting to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, all demonstrate God’s great love for His children.

Our Father’s love for us has worked itself out in the whole of human history. His grand plan of redemption is an overarching intention, a purposeful proposition, and an overture of kindness orchestrated and made sure by the ruler and maker of the universe, our Abba.

His love is also made evident by myriad expressions of His Grace towards us every day: food to eat, air to breathe, every beat of the heart, a pillow to rest our head on at night. Even the pain and unpleasantness of His discipline later yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness, a gracious rendering of Fatherly love expressed and given, liberally, for our good and His Glory.

Yet, I am convinced that compared to what there is to know, we know nothing of God’s love.

When I reject God’s provision, the very blood of His Son shed for me, attempting to merit my own salvation; it is at this point especially, I know nothing of God’s love.

When I trust in my own strength and fail to appropriate the power of the Holy Spirit in me; I know nothing of God’s love.

When I prefer law over Grace, refusing to extend forgiveness when I have been forgiven so much, I know nothing of God’s love. (How true it is that my sin against God is infinitely greater than any offense anyone could ever commit against me!)

A wider sense of our Heavenly Father’s love for us is humbling. A deeper apprehension of God’s love places us just where we need to be. Inside the Gospel!

Christian cross

Christian cross (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And can it be that I should gain
an interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain?
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?*

God’s love is inextricably linked to the cross. The cross stands at the center of our personal history and is central to the history of all mankind. It is from the vantage point of the cross that the agonies of the Son of God shout their testimony of love, forever securing our redemption and the story of our salvation.

In our quest to gain an understanding of God’s love, we need not go any further than, and dare not stop short of the Gospel of the cross, Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. The glory and reality of the Gospel is deep enough. It is wide enough. And under any circumstance, it is real enough to keep us for all of eternity.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Let the Good News of God’s love be shed abroad in our hearts and grab hold of our minds and change us. May the Lord bring us into an understanding of His love as expressed at Calvary.  Let the truth of Golgotha mortify our pride, transforming us into a people who love much, because we have been much loved!

Lord, help us understand.

By His Grace and for the Gospel
Terrie van Baarsel

*And Can It Be That I Should Gain? by Charles Wesley (1707-1788)


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