Lamentations 3:22-26, "It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD." (KJV).
The passage of Scripture noted above is one that I have often gained a great deal of solace from meditating upon. The very thought that each new dawn brings a fresh supply of the mercies of God into my life is nothing short of breath taking!
How many times during the course of certain days in your life have you wished, perhaps with every fiber of your being, to be able to turn back time so that you could do things differently?
Regrets are not easy to reconcile...and time can not be turned back no matter who we may be...each one of us have said things that we wish we could take back. Each one of us have made choices that we realize in hind-sight were the wrong choices. In some cases, others have been hurt by our choices and we may feel overwhelmed by the hopelessness that comes with that realization....yet, God has a remedy for our plight!
That is not to say that He wipes away all the consequences that have come for our decisions....often those are outcomes He gives us the grace we need to accept, however, He can and does change us as individuals! Moreover, He can take away the burden of guilt we bear! We have the marvelous hope of a "new beginning"! What is even more exciting to realize is that they need not wait for a new day to dawn... The Scriptures teach us that at the very moment that we confess our sin...God grants us forgiveness because, His Son, Jesus Christ, took our punishment for sin upon Himself. When we turn from our sin and put our faith in Jesus, we are immediately made "New" again.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!", (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV). God is all about transforming our ashes into beauty....so don't waste time trying to turn over a new leaf in your own strength. Don't fret about what you would like to change about your past. Instead, read the verses in Lamentations again...knowing that God has never changed...He remains faithful to those whom seek after Him and who wait for Him...His mercies are new every morning...every moment. He is able and faithful to transform us from the old to the new..He is indeed "our hope and salvation"!
September 11 is officially marked on calendars as "Grandparents Day". Grandparents are special people and deserve our recognition. I remember my own grandparents with a great deal of fondness. There are precious memories of summer visits for reunions or occasionally gathering together for church camp meetings...and near Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday's it was the wonderful celebrations shared around a table.... loaded down with lots of good food. I knew that I was loved and I loved each of them.
Then I had to say, "So long." as each one was called home from this world. I have come to realize as I get older, that even though my time with them was often limited due to the distance I lived from them, they helped to shape me into the person I have become.
Now I am a grandparent....and it is I who have the responsibility...the wonderful privilege of influencing my granddaughter to be all that God created her to be. Yes, being Grandma is all about hugs & kisses, fun and special times together; but that is just the beginning. There is also moments of listening to them talk about their friends, their interests, the things they like and don't like at all....there are the moments that you can encourage them to believe in their ability to learn new skills and to reach new heights....to attain the dreams that they harbor in their hearts...dreams and aspirations that God placed within them before they were ever born so that they could fulfill the purpose they were born to accomplish.
Psalm 139 tells us that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (v.14) and that "all the days that were ordained for each of us were written by God before they ever came to be"
(v. 16, paraphrased ).
We as grandparents often have the unique opportunity to "write on the hearts of our grandchildren" by simply spending time with them. It matters more than we may think. We need to be intentional about setting aside the time to encourage them, to inspire them, to love them, and to even gently correct them when necessary. Are we helping our grandchildren to be all that God wants them to be or are we satisfied to simply spoil them and send them home? Don't lose that important connections that you have with your grandchildren...it's well worth it to put up with their seemingly endless energy levels, and the extra patience they often require. Just like our children, they will grow-up so fast....we need to make the most of each and every moment we are blessed to have with them.
The excitement is in the air....for some parents, this is a bitter sweet time of placing their young child on a big school bus for the very first time, while for others the start of the school year is a welcome relief to days of trying to manage child care and vacation plans into a demanding summer schedule. Whether you have students in school or not, you can't miss the parade of yellow buses crowding the streets every morning and afternoon or the children walking along with bright new back-packs weighing them down.
There is something about the fresh beginning of a new school year that has always filled me with hope....hope that this year could be better than the year before....hope that this year I would accomplish reaching my academic goals. Then there is the thrill of the Friday night football games, combined with echoing chants of cheer leaders or the rhythmic beat of the school band....all of these causing students, former alumni and local community members to swell with pride for their local school.
I still like new beginnings...the chance to set new goals and then strive to rise to the challenge. I still love the opportunity to gather together with friends and new acquaintances--to enjoy a sense of community..of sharing a common bond. I often wonder what our church services would be like if we attended them with the same anticipation and excitement that we often do the local football games...What if we cheered each other on towards a common goal of being a winning team. I wonder how great it would feel if when we entered the doors of the church, we heard others calling out our name in a way that we knew we were among friends who were truly glad we came.
I realize I am comparing two completely different events but I wouldn't mind at all if our gatherings at church were filled with more anticipation and excitement than we often settle for. We have so many reasons to be excited and filled with anticipation when we gather in His house! If we keep in mind that we are gathering together to sing praises to God...like the Psalmist, who said: "I will give You thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise You",(Psalm 35:18). Praise the Lord! He is Awesome!