BLESSINGS AND TRIALS :: thanksgiving edition

Blessings and trials.  Mountains and valleys.  Life.  It's all so bittersweet, isn't it?

Life is but a blink of an eye and yet we are living like there are no consequences.  We've exchanged the truth of God for a lie and we do not realize that we are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.  My heart aches.  My heart aches for the lost.  For the thousands of children murdered every day.  For the 33% of woman sacrificing their defenseless babies on the alter of convenience.  For the 83% of men addicted to pornography.  For victims of pain and suffering.  For their inflicters who have suppressed the truth in unrighteousness.  I'm discouraged by the deafening silence of the apathetic.  Jesus is not an accessory.  We've cheapened His sacrifice and tried stripping His glory to satisfy our lusts.  And I'm devastated.
But despite the horrific realities of this fallen earth and all its unpleasantness, I'm reminded of what we deserve and realize how very good we have it.  Apart from Christ, we are in self-destruct mode.  With Him there is hope... hope and salvation not found outside of Him.  Life is a battle.  A battle that is already won.  Jesus is faithful.  His truths are steadfast and our's is the victory.

I'm overwhelmed when I reflect on the incredible blessings God has given me.  I have a father who protects and provides for me.  I have a mother who acts as both my best friend and role model.  I have two beautiful sisters whom I couldn't adore more.  I'm blessed with a small community of friends and believers who encourage me and love me for who I am.  I know the truth.  I have my health, a home, the Word, the first amendment, opportunity.  The list is truly endless.
2014 was in such a hurry.  I didn't accomplish things I'd hoped to accomplish and I'm nowhere where I thought I'd be today.  I've changed.  I'm a very different person than I was 365 days ago.  I've learned a lot since then.  I've learned about people, the world, myself.  I've seen the injustice of this world and had the privilege of casting my cares upon Him who sustains me.

On my own I'm weak, frail and downhearted... broken.  But in Christ, I'm redeemed.  That's the beauty of it all.  God is not limited in His capacity.  The harvest is great and ultimately my joy isn't in good works or rhetoric.  My joy is in the Gospel.
There are merciless wolves all around us, wolves that will never be satisfied.  There will be challenges, disappointment, pain, trials and hurt.  But that's the nature of serving God in a world that is fallen.  If this year has taught me anything, it's that hope comes in all shapes and sizes.  And that God is so faithful and His promises are true.  He sends us out with nothing but the resource of His truth and grace and power and spirit.  And so we go.

As for the highlight of my Thanksgiving… today we received this picture of the most precious babe.  By the grace of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit, this beauty was spared the horror of abortion outside of our local abortion mill.  Her sweet mama was convicted when she saw a picture of an  abortion victim, and now this little one is here.  I'm so grateful to God for allowing me to witness this miracle.  I simply can't say it enough, Jesus is faithful.

"For every choice that led to shame

And all the love that never came
For every vow that someone broke
And every life that gave up hope

We live in the shadow of the fall
But the cross says these are all

Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled, it may be unrestored
But when anything that's shattered
Is laid before the Lord

Just watch and see, it will not be unredeemed"