for His name's sake

II Thessalonians 3:5

Psalm 23:3 is a verse I recite often, telling my soul that God will be there to restore. No matter what kind of storm, no matter how tall the waves that crash over us, how deep the hurt that resides in us. God will restore our soul, He will bring us back to a state of spiritual health and soundness.  Whether we have wandered off, whether we have fallen in a major way, whether we have been hurt, whether we have been broken — He restores our soul.

“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3)

But God does not leave us there. No, He leads us on in the paths of righteousness — for His name’s sake. To be honest, this part of the verse stuck with me this week and I still keep thinking about it. For His name’s sake. It brings glory to God when we walk in His paths of righteousness, when we choose His ways and His will over ours and over the world’s. We shine His light in this world, and our heart, our attitudes, our choices, our behavior ultimately represent God.

While it amazes me that I can bring glory to God, that it is somehow possible for me, a broken and sinful person, to bring glory to our almighty, magnificent God — there is the other side to this.

It is His glory, His reputation at stake when we wander off. When we walk off from the path of righteousness, it is God’s reputation that goes down with us. When our attitudes are wrong, when there is bitterness or anger or jealousy, when our words hurt rather than heal. We do not honor God and we represent Him to those around us all wrong.

“We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.” (2 Corinthians 2:17b NLT)

All that we say and do, we do it as followers of Christ and therefore, we represent Christ to those around us in the way that we act and speak. This here, yes, it should challenge us — to pray for ourselves, to pray about the way we conduct ourselves, to pray that all we say would be said with sincerity and out of love. That we would do and say all knowing that God is watching us. Because knowing that God is watching us, should only make us want to honor Him, to bring Him glory.

Today, I want to choose God, to choose His righteousness and pray that my speech would be with grace, that all would be said and done out of love. I pray over my heart, my attitudes and behavior, for God to reveal the wrongs in my heart so that I can choose His righteousness. The way that I speak, the way that I act — it represents Christ, and I want to represent Him the best way I can. The Lord gives us grace for the many times we fail to bring Him glory, in giving us second, third, fourth chances.

It is for His name’s sake.

Linking up: Monday’s Musings, Titus 2 Tuesday, Women Helping Women, Winsome Wednesday, Tell His Story, Coffee for Your Heart, Word Filled Wednesday, WholeHearted Wednesday, Wise Woman Linkup

no need to try so hard to be perfect

July 18

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24)

Today? There is no need to try so hard, to be perfect and to get it all right.

I know — there are all these expectations (mostly set by you) and long to-do lists and people to see and needs to meet. There are things you need to learn; habits and attitudes you need to unlearn. There are battles to fight, fears to face, mountains to climb.

But today? Yeah, you do not need to try so hard to get it all right.

We can count on Him who is able to keep us from stumbling, who will present us faultless before the presence of His glory. Oh, we will fall short and fail — over and over again. But God does not look for perfection. He wants faithfulness. Honestly, it is so important to distinguish between these two, perfect and faithful. When we strive to be perfect, it is usually just that — we strive, we do it in our own strength. Faithfulness means we do our best but we look to God when we stumble and fall. We ask for His forgiveness and receive it, and He equips us for a better next try. We look to Him for strength, and He will help us and strengthen us.

There is another promise in this verse as well. Not only is the Lord able to keep us from stumbling but He will present us faultless before the presence of His glory — and He will do it with exceeding joy. This here, it gets me. We give the Lord our sinful hearts, our mistakes and failures, our shortcomings and weaknesses — and He promises to present us faultless before the presence of His glory. Not only that, He will do it with exceeding joy.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)

So this week? There is no need to try so hard to be perfect. Yes, aim to be faithful with all that has been given to you by the Lord. But leave the notion of needing to be perfect aside.

The Lord is merciful and gracious; He will give grace and glory. He sees you where you are, He sees how hard you are trying to be perfect for Him. God sees your faithfulness in the little things, and He will equip you with strength to be faithful in the greater things, as well. God does not want perfection; no, He wants you to lift up your eyes and look to Him. To bring your all to Him, to choose Him and believe His promises.

Linking up: Titus 2sDay, Titus 2 Tuesday, Women Helping Women, Coffee for Your Heart, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Linkup, Word Filled Wednesday, Capture Your Journey, Growing in Grace, Thrive at Home, Hearts 4 Home, Thriving Thursday

come out of hiding

Come out of your hiding place. Take refuge in His strength, and trust His everlasting love. Faith and fear cannot co-exist — so let go of your fear and choose faith. Find forgiveness, find peace and freedom. It takes courage. Oh, precious soul, does it take so much courage. It would be easier to keep hiding, so that nothing would hurt and you could walk away feeling like you still hold the pieces by yourself. But when you surrender yourself to Him who is our place of safety, who holds your heart and gives beauty for ashes — only then will you find yourself.

hope for your battle

peonies, from my parents' yard

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:1-2)

Our battles are individual and personal, for every one of us. Our battles are our own, and they look different from everyone else’s battles. True, we might be dealing with same issues as some others are but our past, our previous experiences and who we are, affect what our battles look like to us. Because others’ stories are so different from ours, it can be difficult to find the hope, to think that the circumstances would change when it comes to our lives. But this is where I see the beautiful grace of God. Darkness is dark for all of us. And in our battles, in our darkness we find the same God who doesn’t change. I may not be able to relate to the battle you are fighting through but I can say this:

My darkness has been dark and scary, too. I have been afraid — I still am, at times. But in my brokenness and pain, in the trials and the deep valleys, I have found God in there with me. In my deepest despair and those days when it seems like all hope has been lost, I have found God and peace in Him. He will be there for you, too. You will find Him in the midst of your battle; you only need to call, you only need to turn your eyes to Him. He is there, the Light and the Hope you need.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’” (Isaiah 58:9)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. So no matter how dark it seems around you, no matter how hopeless you might feel — God is with you. He is, after all, Emmanuel – God With Us.

God with us.

Linking up: Monday’s Musings, Titus 2 Tuesday, Titus 2sDay, Winsome Wednesday, Word Filled Wednesday, Coffee For Your Heart, Tell His Story, Hearts for Home