Tag Archives: faithfulness

And Giveth Again…

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My precious Grandma Vicki….

I am proud (in the puff-up-your-chest, walk-a-little-taller, American sense of the word) of some aspects of my heritage. For instance, my maternal great-grandmother’s name was Mamie (rhymes with Jamie) and  played the steel guitar. Yep. Ballin’.

And my paternal grandmother, Vicki Jo, is just as awesome. She lives in a double-wide trailer decorated from floor to ceiling in the most beautiful, south-western fashion. Dried chilis hanging from the front porch. Painted cow skulls hanging in the dining room. Woven Indian blankets on the couch. She taught me how to make cherry pie from scratch, raised six children almost exclusively by herself and every fall the pioneer woman gets herself a doe-tag (hunting license) and shoots a doe elk from her kitchen window.

That being said, the thing that reminds me the most of my Grandma Vicki is southern gospel music. And I’m talking about those oooooold hymns played in that bouncy way, like “There’s Power in the Blood” and the ever great “Victory in Jesus”. Grandma Vicki plays the piano so well; her passion and talent in music has infused itself deeply in our blood, bearing fruit over generations.

Why am I talking about my grandparents? Well, a good number of years ago I decided to explore through some hymnals and I came across this goldmine. I’ve never heard it sung live; as a matter of fact, only recently had I ever heard someone else even sing it. I am always so encouraged by the words, deep life-giving truth. And in honor of my beloved Grandma (who still records Gaither music specials on VHS tape), I’m including both the lyrics and a video for you to be encouraged as well.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

My most favorite hymn. I can hear these words over and over and over again. The faithfulness of our Never-Ending-Generous God is so amazing that I cannot help but cry tears of grateful worship.

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

            His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
            His power no boundary known unto men;
            For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
            He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

Annie Johnson Flint (1866-1932)

maranatha: Hesed, Day 7

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“’Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.’” Is 42.1-4

A woman in my church has asked me to put together my testimony to share as part of the next women’s retreat, and whenever I look back on the 21+ years I’ve lived so far, one of the very first things that comes to mind is one of my favorite truth’s about God: Hesed, the love that will not let me go. I see the Lord’s Hesed everywhere in my life; in the fact that after being accepted into nursing school I have successfully finished the third of four semesters (of the hardest scholastic challenge I’ve ever faced); in the blessing of having a beautiful studio apartment provided for me for the past 1.5 years, made affordable by the enduring love of consistently self-sacrificing friends; in the ever-deepening friendship that’s developing between my best friend/sister and I. And I see it in this Advent passage as well. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice… he will not falter or be discouraged… So often, so so often I have felt like an island. Distant. Helpless. Too far away for hope of contact, much less intervention. But He is Hesed, and He is my source of hope.

maranatha: Immanuel means Faithful, Day 2

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“The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means “God is with us”). By the time this child is old enough to choose what is right and reject what is wrong, he will be eating yogurt and honey.” Isaiah 7.14-15

Inserted in a stream of prophecy concerning the coming destruction of the nation of Israel, this little Messianic promise is read much like a back-handed compliment. Israel’s King Ahaz has been disobeying the Lord, and when confronted with his disbelief, he fakes piety by refusing to “test the Lord like that” (v. 12). Bible commentator Matthew Henry writes this concerning the passage:

“The unbelief of man shall not make the promise of God no effect; the Lord himself shall give a sign. Despite your great distress and danger, of you the Messiah is to be born, and you cannot be destroyed while that blessing is in you. It shall be brought to pass in a glorious manner.”

Fully cognizant of the deep heart-rebellion that cannot be hidden, the all-seeing, all-knowing God remains faithful to his promise to Abraham: the whole world will be blessed through the fruit of the Jewish line (Gen 22:18). This idea of Hesed always brings my heart to its knees; God is faithful, no matter the outside circumstances that seem impossible, and regardless of my wandering-heart choices of pure rebellion. One of my favorite verses has been circulating in my mind recently:

“If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.” 2 Timothy 2.13

When I am once again brought face-to-face with the overwhelming grace of God’s unfailing faithfulness to me, my soul cannot help but echo the conclusion Matthew Henry proclaims:

“The strongest consolations in time of trouble are derived from Christ, our relation to him, our interest in him, our expectations of him and from him.”

“God with me” means his constant faithfulness in my life, and the ever-flowing promise of his continuous presence, bringing life, hope, identity and grace.