Great is Thy Faithfulness

The writer of that familiar hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness wrote from firsthand experience. As a young adult, Thomas Obadiah Chisolm had fragile health and spent many months in bed, too ill to work. At the age of 27 he gave his life to Christ and was overwhelmed with God’s faithfulness. He needed God’s strength on a daily basis, but in reality, don’t we all?  He wrote the poem that would later be set to music, as a way of offering his overwhelming thanksgiving to the God who sustained him every single day.

Chisolm’s favorite bible verses were found in Lamentations 3: 22-23 – “Because of the Lord’s great love we are consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
When I think of these verses I remember the Israelites receiving God’s manna every morning. They were sustained daily, just like Thomas Chisolm. And if they tried to store up manna for the future it spoiled. God wanted them to depend on Him daily.

Isn’t it the same with His mercies? Aren’t they meant to be new every morning so that we will put our trust and our hope in the God who faithfully cares for us day by day? He only gives us enough strength for the day and then He wants us to come back to Him again tomorrow for more. He has enough to last a lifetime! Thomas Chisolm lived to be 94 and wrote more than 1200 poems and songs in his lifetime, because he was able to trust God for the strength for each day. God wants to meet us each morning and pour out His mercies on us. Great is thy Faithfulness, O Lord!

Great is Thy Faithfulness
 
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
 There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
 Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
 As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
 
 Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
 Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
 Join with all nature in manifold witness
 To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
 
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
 Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
 Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
 Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
 
Great is Thy faithfulness! 
Great is Thy faithfulness! 
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
 All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
 Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

A Question to Make You Think

Many will remember hearing me talk about my Thankful Journal. I wrote about it here if you want to get the back story.

I have been writing in this journal for almost 3 years now. I started numbering the entries and have over 1800  now.  Things I’m thankful for. Things that made me smile and gave me joy.

Many families have a tradition on Thanksgiving to go around the table and offer something each one is thankful for.  Answers such as “good health,” or “my family” or ” a good job.” might be shared with those gathered.

We  teach our children to say “thank you” from an early age. Many a parent can be heard coaching their child to “say thank you,” in a variety of situations.

But there is something more than just being thankful. Just saying you are thankful for something is really not the whole story. You might find it easy to list the things you are thankful for. Some could be general and some very specific.  The problem is that perhaps we’ve forgotten who to thank.

You are thankful for your good health. Here is the question.

Who do you thank for that?

You are thankful for your children.  Who do you thank?

You are thankful that you had a job and the means to pay your bills this year.  Who is responsible for that? Who do you say thank you to?

During this Thanksgiving week, it’s good to think of the things you are thankful for. We certainly need to find some positive things to think about rather that what bombards us in the news every day. But your effort is really worthless if you just list a bunch of items and quit there.

The most important part of being thankful is knowing who gave you those things you appreciate so much.  It makes no sense to say you are thankful if you can’t find the right person to thank.

All those things are God’s doing.  He is the one you should thank. He is your loving Heavenly Father and has bought all those blessings into your life. So don’t just be thankful, thank HIM.

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”  –James 1:17 (NASB)

 

God’s Perfect Design

In the third chapter of Judges there is a story that demonstrates how God designs each of us with specific characteristics that He intends to use for His purposes.

Judges 3:15-21 “But when the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. Ehud made himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his cloak. He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. It came about when he had finished presenting the tribute, that he sent away the people who had carried the tribute. But he himself turned back from the idols which were at Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he said, “Keep silence.” And all who attended him left him. Ehud came to him while he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. Ehud stretched out his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly.”

I have one left-handed son and we had quite a time teaching him to write. He often questioned why he wasn’t right-handed like his six brothers. After we read the passage about how Ehud was able to deliver Israel from the King of Moab because he was left handed, we had a great discussion. My son was encouraged after learning that God has given each of us specific talents and characteristics that He will use for His glory if we will yield to Him. Sometimes the very thing that the world sees as a weakness or disadvantage is what God will use in an amazing way.

Today, offer God all your talents and all your unique features that you may think are nothing special. Wait and see what amazing things God will do!

“Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your strength,” –       Ecclesiastes 9:10(HCSB)

God Invented Zip Lock Bags

When was the last time you used a zip lock bag? Okay, maybe you didn’t use the ZipLoc brand but you probably have a zipper-type plastic storage bag somewhere in your house. The purpose of these bags is to keep things contained. They keep things nice and tidy. When we moved we used some huge 20-gallon size bags that could hold clothes and bedding. Zippered plastic bags are also used by criminal investigators to preserve evidence.

The invention of zip lock bags happened in the 1960s but God actually had the idea way back in the time of Job. Job says in chapter 14:16-17: For now You number my steps, You do not observe my sin.  My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and You wrap up my iniquity.

Job was complaining to God that his sins were being overlooked for now but God was storing them up in bag and could bring them out to use against Job at any time. It was as though God was the investigator gathering evidence to use later.

But we know differently. Picture this: God saves all our sins, the big ones and the tiny ones, He makes no distinction. He collects them in His zip lock bag – he may need a pretty big one – and he sets the collection aside to use as evidence at the day of judgment.

Then Jesus enters the picture. He approaches God the Father and says, “See that bag over there? The one for Sheryl? That bag belongs to me now; I paid the price for her sin.”

God looks at that zip lock bag and says to Jesus, “You take it. The evidence is no longer valid.” Jesus takes the bag containing all my sin and disposes of it. It’s gone forever

I pray that from this day on, every time you see a zip lock bag, you remember that God was keeping your sin to use against you and Jesus stepped in and rescued you from judgment. Hallelujah!

He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!  – Psalm 111:9 (ESV)