God is Able to Make Grace Abound to You

2 Corinthians 9:8 – “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

trails

Never limit God’s ability to work in and through you for His glory. God is able to make ALL grace abound to you.

Abounding grace does not come as a trickle, or a sprinkle, or a dribble, or a drip. It comes as a downpour. It’s more like a mighty rushing waterfall than a lightly falling drizzle of rain. Abounding grace is a deluge.

Oh, to be filled with the fullness of God!

God is not limited by our abilities. We are weak, but He is strong. He empowers weak people to do extraordinary things for the praise of His glory so that in all things, at all times, having all that we need in Christ, we may abound in every good work.

Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38).

God, help us to think more of your power than our weakness. Help us fix our eyes on you: your might, your strength, your ability, your promises, and your abounding grace for every sinner in need.

Ray Ortlund, Jr. has shared this quote from his father the last two Sundays, and it is quickly becoming a favorite quote of mine:

“Jesus wants to express his fullness through you. Always begin your thinking and your planning and your deciding from the standpoint of Jesus’ fullness in your life. Always begin with the plenty of God. Face life with all you have in Christ. Never face life from the standpoint of all the problems and all the needs and all the difficulties. Always begin with your standing in Christ. You have rivers of living water, Christ in you, fullness of grace and truth. That’s what Jesus gives us!”

Ray Ortlund, Sr., preaching at Lake Avenue Church, May 11, 1975.

Fullness in Christ! Christ in you, the hope of glory! Abounding grace!

God is Able!

Take Heart: This Is Your God!

We will never find joy or peace by looking within. It is in who God is, not in who we are, that we find rest and strength for our souls.

Looking upward to Him, we encounter hope.

Looking Up

I find that when my attention is stuck on myself, I easily get discouraged. On the other hand, when my focus shifts to all that God is for me in Christ, my soul soars. Perhaps, you can relate.

So, Who has God revealed Himself to be for all those in Christ?

He is The God of Hope

Romans 15:13 – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

No matter where you are and no matter what is happening in your life right now, there is hope for you in Christ. Your God is the God of Hope! By the Holy Spirit, He can fill you with joy and peace that transcends your present circumstances. Because He is the God of Hope, you can abound in hope!

He is the God of Endurance and Encouragement

Romans 15:5-6 – “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Your God is the God of endurance, so He can fill you with strength to continue to run the race and not grow weary. He is also the God of encouragement. Look to Him and to His strength and you will soar like the eagle.

He is The God of all Comfort

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Your Father knows your pain, and He cares deeply. The eternal God is your dwelling place and underneath are the everlasting arms (Dt. 33:27). There is comfort for you in the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is mercifully inclined to you in your weakness. He will not waste your pain, but will redeem it for your good and for His glory.

He is The God of Peace

Romans 16:20 – “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

Yes, you are surrounded by turmoil, grief, and heartache. There is an enemy who is actively seeking to destroy your faith. In this world, you live at war. But your God is the God of Peace, and he will soon crush Satan under your feet. The battle wages on, but your final victory is secure in Christ.

He is The God of all Grace

1 Peter 5:10 – “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

Whatever you have lost for the sake of Christ will be restored to you. Your sufferings will be followed by glory. Your God is the God of ALL GRACE! One day, the God of hope, peace, endurance, encouragement, and grace will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Take Heart: This is Your God!

What 30 Somethings Need to Hear: Embrace the Mess!

Embrace the Mess

This post is for all my 30-Something friends who have small children frolicking around their sometimes frenetic homes.

Embrace and Enjoy this Season

Life is messy. Add kids (or multiple kids) to the mix and it only gets messier. Children are resourceful, creative, and experimental. They are full of energy, imagination, and life. They are a JOY!! And… they are messy.

With the God-given natural desire for order (1 Cor. 14:33) in the heart of a parent, the regular rhythm of free-play giving way to obligatory “clean-up” times can be monotonous and, at times, maddening.

That’s when we need to remember that most important truth that our children are a GIFT from God (See Psalm 127:3-5). By any stretch, our time with them is short, and the moments we have every day are a blessing for us to embrace.

Encouragement from an Obscure Passage

I can remember reading through Proverbs 14 a few years ago and being encouraged in this regard by an obscure passage:

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of an ox.” (Proverbs 14:4)

Obviously, this passage is speaking about oxen. If you have no oxen, your manger will always be clean. But as Derek Kidner has written, this passage “has many applications to personal, institutional and spiritual life.” I think it can serve us as parents.

It’s so easy to focus on all the messes that are around us: Clothes and shoes laying all over the floor, books not put away neatly in their shelves, toys scattered across the rooms of our already cluttered lives, dirty bathrooms, dirty dishes, and disheveled rooms.

But, really, would you trade the kisses, the hugs, the moments of ministry, and the warm embraces for a clean and quiet home? I wouldn’t.

I love the way Dennis and Barbara Rainey have put it:

“One day–sooner than we think–those muddy footprints, those marks on the wall, the spilled red Kool-Aid stains and piles of dirty diapers will be the things of the past that we miss. The late-night study sessions, the teen-age drama, watching your son drive away while you quietly pray for his safety, and the soul-searching conversations will be over. As James reminds us, even these moments will be gone like a mist (James 4:14). The house will be quiet. And we will hope for a phone call from those children we don’t see as often as we’d like. We cannot look past the blessing of the parenting years and the unparalleled privilege we have as parents to show our children they are our blessings.” (quoted in A Parent Privilege, by Steve Wright with Chris Graves, pages 69-70)

That’s a great quote for the fridge. What a helpful perspective! At the heart of it all, our children are a blessing and not a bother. God, give us grace to maintain this perspective and relate to our kids in this way!

If you, like me, are in the season of small children, let’s embrace our kids and embrace the mess. One day, sooner than we know it, we will miss having to clean up after these little blessings. Let’s enjoy it now!