He Giveth More Grace

As I think about the nine years I’ve spent walking with Jesus, I have experienced a lifetime of events that have left me radically changed by His grace. From the loss of a job that eventually led to the foreclosure on my first home, the repossession of a car, and total bankruptcy, Jesus was there. When I didn’t have enough money to buy Christmas presents for my kids, Jesus was there. Through the car wreck that stole my late wife and four year old daughter, Jesus was there. As I lay fighting for my life and lay helplessly unable to be there for my son as we both struggled to live after the same wreck, Jesus was there.

In my brief time here on earth I’ve come to understand the only certain thing, the only unchanging thing is God and His faithful promises. His love and mercy have sustained me through life’s toughest moments. In the pain and prosperity Jesus has been faithful and has showered me with grace and mercy when I needed Him most. 

One of my life’s defining moments was when in my deepest, darkest moment Jesus posed a simple question: “is My grace not enough?” From that moment in 2011 God has shattered the walls I built up around my pride, sin, and arrogance. I discovered the desperate need that I have (that you have too) for the God of the universe who created and loves us. 

The power verse for my life is 2 Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. It is here in my deepest weakness that I find the unending strength of Jesus. Sometimes I just can’t… but my God always can. From the deepest hurts of life to the greatest moments of blessing, God is faithful and will never leave us or forsake us.

Today I want to encourage every follower of Jesus with this reminder: nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39). If you find yourself wounded, weary, and exhausted from the constant daily struggles of life, you are not alone. When you are weary and burdened, trust in the Lord. He will sustain you and give you strength you need to fight on (Isaiah 40:30-31). 

I want to leave you today with the lyrics from He Giveth More Grace as a reminder of the unending grace and love of our good God. Don’t give up, God isn’t through with you yet!

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase
To added affliction He addeth His mercy
To multiplied trials His multiplied peace

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure
His pow’r has 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

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure
His pow’r has no boundary known unto men
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again

His love has no limit, His grace has no measure
His pow’r has no boundary known unto men
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again

The Sound of Silence

You’ll have to forgive me if I associate thoughts in life with kids movies… what can I say? I have five kids under the age of 12. With that said I am well acquainted with all the Disney classics, and I especially prefer musicals. I think music within itself is a powerful language to communicate thought, and I’m amazed at the countless songs the human mind can memorize. 

Tonight as I write this message, I am thinking about the classic Trolls and a particularly hilarious scene where the classic “Sound of Silence” is sang by one of the movies heroes (Poppy). Although the song itself has no bearing on this message, except to bring a smile to my face as I think about Branch throwing Poppy’s guitar in the fire (I love Branch), I think the title of the song speaks volumes. 

Can I share a vulnerable confession with you? I hate silence. In fact I almost never sit in silence, even as I pray. As I write this message tonight I have instrumental music softly playing in the background. The old saying: “silence is deafening” may help you get the picture of why silence is hard for me. The honest truth is I don’t like myself and when I am alone, in the silence with just my thoughts, I have to face that silence.

The Scripture tells us that God communicates to us through a still small voice, a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11-13). Sometimes I wish God would just communicate to me in some grand fashion where His voice would be unmistakable in the midst of my chaotic life; but that’s not how God has chosen to communicate.

Tonight as Psalm 46:10 comes to mind, God is asking me (and you) to do something important. He is asking us to “be still” and as a result, silent before Him. In the stillness and silence of that moment with our minds turned fully towards God seeking His heart, I am confident that His peace will flood our souls. The problem plainly isn’t that God doesn’t speak, for me it is historically that I am so busy and afraid of the stillness of that moment that I don’t hear Him. But the moments I have heard Him speak have transformed my life…

Tonight (or whenever you are reading this), I hope that you won’t be afraid of that silence. Turn off the music, the TV, and whatever else is distracting your mind. Enter into a secret place and shut the door, quietly still yourself physically before the Lord and turn your heart towards Him. Focus your mind and attention and let His peace and joy flood your heart as you remember: He is God.

But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6 NLT)

Do Better Now My Child

You know what’s worse than a bad day? When that bad day steals the next day too. Worse yet… when a bad day steals a week, months, or even years of our lives. It’s painful looking back over a season of life and realizing that you’ve wasted so much time being angry or hurt and all its done is left you broken. Was it worth all it cost? It never is.

Believe it or not, the Scripture speaks about this exact thought. The Scripture warns us: And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT). I’m embarrassed to admit… this is a deep struggle for me. Countless times I have felt the gentle encouragement of the Holy Spirit to deal with anger and to find healing in a day, only to brush it aside, push the anger down, and see it steal so many other moments from me.

Husbands and wives do it. Family and friends do it. Partners in ministry do it. Coworkers do it. We get angry, we refuse to forgive someone or deal with the hurt, and it snowballs into something it never had to be. This is why Paul warns us, inspired by the Holy Spirit (thus God warns us), to process anger so we don’t give a foothold to our greatest enemy.

Tonight as you are getting ready to sleep (or regardless of when you are reading this), what anger has given the devil a foothold in your life? The good news is that regardless of how “big” or “immovable” the anger has become or the hurt and brokenness that has come from it, you can find healing. It starts with a healthy realization that you are angry, you haven’t dealt with it, and it is stealing more and more from you.

Once you’ve been honest with yourself… the next step is to take your anger and frustration to God. Pray for guidance, healing, and His direction on how to find reconciliation, forgiveness, and true healing. It’s time for us to realize that we’ve made a proverbial mountain out of the molehill and that we’ve given the enemy a place to operate in our lives.

There is a story that I think encapsulates this thought well for me tonight, I hope God will speak to you through it.

He came to my desk with a quivering lip, the lesson was done.
“Have you a new sheet for me, dear teacher?
I’ve spoiled this one.”
I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted
and gave him a new one all unspotted.
And into his tired heart I cried,
“Do better now, my child.”

I went/came to the throne with a trembling heart;
the day was done.
“Have you a new day for me, dear Master?
I’ve spoiled this one.”
He took my day, all soiled and blotted
and gave me a new one all unspotted.
And into my tired heart he cried,
“Do better now, my child.”

It’s time to find true healing regardless of what you are facing. The strength of Jesus is made perfect in our weakness and His grace is enough for us (2 Corinthians 12:9). If we will come to Jesus in our weakness, He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28).