My Journey Along the Narrow Way

Posts tagged ‘mercy’

But God…

People ask all the time what my favorite verse is in the Bible.  There are so many to choose from but if I had to pick one it would be Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  During the hardest times in my life I CLING to this verse.

But when I think of what words of Scripture are most precious to me, it would have to be this:  But God.  These have long been my absolute favorite words in the Bible.  And I see I’m not alone.  Just this last Sunday Shawn (our preacher) mentioned those two words in his sermon as well.  Google these two words and multiple postings, including many blogs, pop up.

For being two small little words, only 3 letters a piece, they are very powerful words.  What they say again and again in the Bible is:  man does _________ (which is usually something selfish, hurtful, stupid, etc.); BUT GOD __________ (fixes it, works it all for our good and His glory, hits us upside the head with a 2X4 so we understand, etc.).  How can anyone NOT love that?

For example…I was running away from God and his enemy.  I was literally shaking my fist at him…but God loved me, pursued me, called me to Himself.

Psalm 49:14-15

14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave;
Death shall feed on them;
The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning;
And their beauty shall be consumed in the grave, far from their dwelling.
15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave,
For He shall receive me.  Selah

I am mortal and I will one day die…But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave.

Acts 13:29-30

29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. 30 But God raised Him from the dead.

Jesus’ earthly body died on the Cross, But God raised Him from the dead.

Romans 5:7-8

7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We might lay our life down for another, but only if we feel like they are worthy…But God died for us – worthless, angry, sinful worms.

1 Corinthians 10:13

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

We are tempted and fail repeatedly…but God is faithful to help us either escape or bear the temptation.

Psalm 73:26

26 My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

We will rot and die…But God will redeem us forever!

I fail and fall repeatedly…But God
I hurt others and am selfish…But God
Satan attacks and tempts us…But God

I mean, how can you not LOVE this?  It reminds me again and again…it is NOT me.  None of it.  Nothing I do.  It is ALL God.  He is sovereign, He is faithful, He is in control.  And all I can say is Thank God!  If my faith was left up to me I would stumble before I finished typing this blog post, mostly likely before I finished typing this sentence.  But God is faithful to the end.

No matter what happens in my life, when I’m down, or disappointed, or I fail, I cling to these two little words….BUT GOD.


The Rescuer…

Imagine one nice spring day being on a boat. You are enjoying your day. It’s a nice warm day and the breeze off the water is cool on your face. You have decided to take the boat out on your own just to have some time to think and enjoy some alone time.

As you are going down the river you suddenly hear a sound. It is the sound of people yelling for help. As you look around you finally see a bunch of people in the middle of the river. Their boat has obviously capsized and sank and they are treading water. Even though the day is warm, the water is still really cold. You realize that unless you start saving people, some might not make it.

You have a really small boat but you pull along side the first group and start helping people on. The people are starting to be so cold they can barely work their limbs. It takes a long time to get people in the boat. Also, some of the people fight each other to get on. There are a few that are so frightened; they even are fighting you as you are trying to save them.

Finally, you get a whole load, as many as the boat can safely carry, and you speed down the river and put them on shore. You hurry back to the next group in the water and start trying to rescue them. You do this three or four times, as quickly as you can. In the end you are able to save about half of those in the water.

The news that night sings your praises and calls you a hero. Without your intervention, all 60 people would have died. However, because you chose to become involved 32 are alive that otherwise would have been lost.

It makes sense that they would call you hero, doesn’t it?

If so, then why don’t we call our God a hero? Why do people not see it’s the same?

There we all are in our natural state. We are drowning in our sin. And don’t be mistaken…we WILL drown in our sin and die to eternal Hell. There is nothing we can do to help ourselves. Actually, we are so far gone at that point that we don’t even want help. We think we are fine. We can help ourselves. Everything will be alright…but that’s not true.

And here comes God. He plucks some out of that swamp of sin and death and saves them. Psalm 25:15 – “Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.”

Oh, and we fight Him. We shake our fist at Him. We say it’s not Him that saved us. We say it’s not fair that He didn’t save everyone. We rage against our very Creator and we don’t call Him a hero. We definitely don’t deserve to be saved.
As it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Romans 3:10-18

Why did He choose who He chose? We don’t know, but God sure knows. God has a plan and His plan will be carried out. We should praise Him for His mercy and grace at choosing to save even one of us.

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8

The Flood…

I haven’t written anything because I’ve just been completely surprised about the power of the water and flooding that came into Montgomery and the surrounding areas yesterday.

I know that our church suffered water damage and flooding as did other churches.  I also know that at least one family in our church had some flooding at their house. We had a lightening strike in our next door neighbor’s backyard that fried our TV. But thankfully no one was hurt – both kids were home at the time.

Just looking at all of this water brings to mind the floods that were over the earth during the days of Noah. Our God is a consuming fire!

Believers need to look at the power of this small, regional event and remember that this world will one day end. God’s judgments will destroy the earth and we know not when.

This type of event should drive us back to the cross and God’s mercy again. We should remember the sacrifice made so that we do not have to be crushed under the wrath of our Holy God.

Times are changing…

We have been going through some changes at the Epps’ house lately. Joey was in a serious courting relationship that didn’t work out. Bella has also gone through a break-up and finding out she won’t be graduating in December as planned, mostly due to some bad advice from her collage adviser.

These occurrences have led to a lot of sadness from both of them. Especially since it all pretty much occurred within the last two weeks. Bella asked a question on her blog…”God does have a plan doesn’t He?”. And the answer is, of course, YES God does have a plan.

There have been many times since I have been a Christian when I couldn’t seem to figure out what was going on. I have never wavered in the belief that God is sovereign and is working all things out for His glory….however, it’s really hard when you are in the midst of a trial to see His plan.

I do know that the year after Bud lost his job was extremely hard but looking back, we were closer to God than any other time and we all grew so much from that time.

Time and time again, God provided for us in ways we couldn’t have imagined.  People loved us and took care of us, tuition was paid by an unnamed person, bills we didn’t know how we were going to pay were suddenly taken care of by a refund of an overpayment six months prior…

Looking back at God’s lovingkindness, mercy, and faithfulness to us during times of famine as well as times of feast, helps me to be able to tell my children that Yes, God does have a plan and just wait until you see what He is doing….it’s gonna be great!!!