What I Believe...

2011 has been a rough year, filled with some pretty tough days.  As I sit here in December thinking back over everything that has taken place over the past year I have feelings of such relief and such appreciation.  Relief that we’ve made it through… and appreciation for the One who got me through...  It’s such a mix of emotions.  But most of all I am amazed that I can look back over this year and have a complete sense of peace.  Not bitterness, not anger… but peace.  It’s because of that peace that I want to share with you what got me through… who got me through.

I was raised in a Christian home and grew up going to church.  I accepted Christ as my Savior early in life at the age of 6.  I always believed in God; but until this past year I never knew exactly how much I needed him.  On the front of one of my bible studies this year I wrote these words, “I need you more than the air I breathe”.  This year included some pretty hard days.  I remember praying, “Lord I don’t think I can handle one more thing.” And then, one more thing would come and guess what.  I made it through.  I saw a sign on pinterest that I want to get and post in our house.  It says, “We can do hard things”.  I want to add to that, “We can do hard things through Christ who gives us strength”.  He carried me through so many days this year.

I wish I could put into words exactly what the Lord has been for me this past year. I’m afraid I won’t even do him justice – His beauty, His grace and His faithfulness.  I can tell you there were days I was at the end of myself and He gave me exactly what I needed, when I needed it most.  I am not going to go into details on the events that happened this past year, because everyone goes through hard times and everyone’s hard times are different.  But He is the same.  And His promises are offered to anyone who will accept Him.  There are so many promises in His word.  I want to share just a few with you and I hope they encourage you the way they encourage me every day.  

Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

This verse means so much to me.  I can’t even count the number of times I’ve reminded myself of this promise.  I just know that regardless of the difficulty of the situation, my God promises to work it together for good.  He can take even the most difficult situations and turn it into something beautiful.  It doesn't mean situations won't be hard, but He will bring good from it.  There is such peace in knowing that.

Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

God is able to do so much more than I can even imagine or comprehend.  I imagine my future with Him and even my wildest dreams can’t come close to what He has in store.  I’ve experienced this in situations in life where I have prayed and God answered. He answered and did so much more than I even asked.  Thinking back on His faithfulness just brings a smile to my face.

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”  and Galations 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy; peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.”

I can’t think of these verses apart from one another.  Just the promise that God makes that if we remain in Him, follow Him, he promises love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  I can’t think of anything I want more out of life that those things.  The love of family and most of all my God, complete peace and not have to carry burdens myself, patience with my children, kindness to others…  It’s just the description of a very blessed and over flowing life.

Psalm 1:3 “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers”

This is one of my absolute favorite verses.  I could ramble on forever but Barnes’ notes on the bible has such a great description of what this verse means.  To read the full Notes click here. Here is just a snapshot of what it says,  “It is not a tree that springs up spontaneously, but one that is set out in a favorable place…  a striking image of a happy and a prosperous man.”  And my favorite, “"Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." This idea of the effect of a life of piety is one that is common in the Scriptures, and is sustained by the regular course of events. If a man desires permanent prosperity and happiness, it is to be found only in the ways of virtue and religion.”  I could just jump up and down.  I just love this verse!  What an amazing promise!

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future.”

I said earlier, I accepted Christ as my savior very early in life.  But I can say that it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I truly gave Him everything.  And when I start to take things back I have to give it to Him all over again! I don’t know why letting go of everything - fully giving Him control of EVERY area of my life was such a hard thing for me.  I held on to things.  It’s a funny thing that we find comfort when we’re in control of situations.  But the ironic thing is that there is so much more comfort and peace when He is in control.  As Jeremiah says His plans are always to prosper us, and He always has our best interest at heart. 

And lastly, Romans 4:20-21, “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised.”

God can do what He says He can do.  It’s such a privilege and honor to serve such a big God.  A God that does what He says He will do.  He is so faithful.

These verses are just a few of my favorites.  I just wanted to share them with you because they have brought so much joy and peace to my life.  I believe them with every part of me.  I believe the bible is cover to cover the word of God.  Not adding anything to it or taking anything from it.  I am so thankful to serve a God who promises me an abundant life.  More than I can even imagine.  He doesn’t promise that we won’t face hard times; but He does promise to walk through it with us, and give us strength and peace that surpasses our understanding.   If you don’t know Him personally, He is so worth getting to know.