Look Back- Remember the Goodness and Grace of God

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt

As this year comes to a close and a new one begins, I can’t help but wonder what adventures await us.  2017 has been a blur of busyness and blessings! Sometimes I get so caught up in the present, and excited about the future, that I forget to take the time to look back and remember the goodness and grace of God up to the present time.

It’s important to look back and praise God for his presence, power, provision, and people he’s placed in your life.  Look back at your prayer journal and see all of the answered prayers.  Look back at where you were last January, and where you are now.

How have you grown in your faith, character, and in ministry? What trials did the Lord bring you through? Who were you able to invest in and bring closer to Christ, or who helped you grow this year?

As you look back, remember to thank God for each and every answered prayer, and divinely appointed person who had an impact on your spiritual growth.  Praise him for his goodness and grace.

Psalm 107 is a song of remembrance of all God had done for the children of Israel.  It begins with: O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever, and closes with: Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD, with 41 verses in between recounting the story of God’s deliverance, chastening, provision, and character.

There are two sets of key verses that repeat themselves, and one key word, that I think we can learn from as we look back on 2017.

Four times we see:

  • Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. (v.6)
  • Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. (v.13)
  • Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. (v. 19)
  • Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. (v.28) (emphasis mine to show the slight difference in these very similar verses.)

and

  • Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (v.8, 15, 21, 31)

(These four verses imply that the people were lacking in the area of thankful and grateful hearts. They took advantage of God’s goodness and were forgetful of his works.)

The key word is: Mercy

While it only appears as this English word one time in this psalm, the Hebrew word checed appears 6 times as:

  • mercy (v.1)
  • goodness- 4 times (vs.8, 15, 21,31)
  • lovingkindness (v.43)

Checed is goodness, kindness, faithfulness, favor, and mercy.  This psalm perfectly combines God’s character and his conduct.

Even in his chastening for their disobedience and rebellion (and ours), he is at his core and in the very essence of his being, good, loving, and kind.  That’s evident in all he does.

This psalm also showcases God’s sovereignty.  Just highlight all of the verbs related to God in these verses!  Doing so you’ll see that he redeemed, gathered, delivered, led, satisfied, filled, humbled, healed, saved, brought, and blessed (and more).

What action words can you write down to recount how God has revealed himself to you this year?  Maybe you can write your own psalm of remembrance!

As I look back on all of the answered prayers, the miracles, the faithfulness, the love, and the fruit that has come in this year, I can’t help but praise God for his checed.

Did we have some tough times? Of course.  Were there trials and tribulations? Absolutely. Have I made mistakes and missed the mark?  You betcha!  But through it all, God’s mercy endures forever.

Pause to ponder the goodness of the Lord this past year. Look back on the Lord. Even in the heartbreak and hard times, he has been faithful.

He is good and is working all things out for good.

Believe it and move forward by faith, trusting that whatever lies ahead, the same Lord who was with you this year, will be with you in the next, and the year after that until he comes again or calls you home.

~Psalm 107:9~ For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

 

Thankfulness 

Giving thanks for so many things today!

From my handsome and hardworking husband, to my four fantastic children who love Jesus, and the team of faithful followers we’re blessed to be able to do life and ministry with- my cup overflows!

Every day isn’t all sunshine and lollipops, but it’s a blessed life.

I’m grateful for the grace of God that supplies the strength we need to glorify him every day. He is so good to us!

There was a time when things weren’t so great though. My husband and I had kids and were married very young. We basically all grew up together.

We loved each other the best we could, but we were two selfish sinners endlessly seeking our own way. Needless to say, it was a rough ride for a long time.

You can click on the link below to read the rest of our story. It’s my first guest post I wrote for Inspirational Life. I hope it’s a blessing to ya! Be sure to checkout some of Rachel Lane’s posts on that blog as well. 🙂

Thanksgiving blessings,

Annie

p.s. If you’re in a troubled marriage, don’t lose hope. Jesus is in the miracle-working business! He repairs, restores, redeems, and revives relationships that are designed to bring him glory. He did it for us and he can do the same for you! Put Christ at the center of all you do, and pray without ceasing.

~Proverbs 3:5-6~ Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

via Thankfulness 

 

The Fog

My family and I have a weird tradition when we’re trying to find the ever-elusive close parking spot on our many shopping adventures.  We’ll all be on the lookout for “the fog”.  It’s a phrase I coined as an acronym for the favor of God.  Every time we get a spot near the entrance, (which is almost every time), we’ll say “thank you Jesus for the fog”!

The kids love it and are blown away by how God answers our prayers over and over again.  They’ll even start scoping out “the fog” as soon as we pull in the lot.

I love doing this for two reasons:

  1. It makes me intentional in all areas of my life to look for the undeserved favor (grace) of God.
  2. I’m training my children and my own heart to automatically give God the glory he so rightfully deserves for the blessings he provides for us.

It’s so easy to take small and large things for granted every day.  Pausing to thank God for anticipating and meeting our needs (and our wants as well), cultivates in us a heart of gratitude.

“The fog” can be a parking spot, a good deal, a surprise check, or any number of things that pop out as a gift from God.  Finding a great house, making new friends, and several divine appointments in our new town are all because we are living in the favor of God.

We pray diligently for that favor in every area of our lives. Not just for our own sake, but for our children, and the lost world to see the goodness of God as he actively moves on our behalf.

The most phenomenal “fog” I ever received was when Jesus forgave all my sin. He just wiped my slate completely clean and made me a new creature for his glory.  I didn’t deserve it then, or now, but that’s the beauty of grace.  He saved me based on his character and sacrifice, not of my own merit.  He is so good!

I’ll go to my grave eternally grateful for the salvation of God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  I’m going to keep praising him for all the other “fog” as well.

~Psalm 100:4~ Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

 

HE IS

 

When I’ve got a lot of worries and I’ve got a lot of fears

I’ve got a lot of struggles and I’ve got a lot of tears

I come to His feet and lay each one down

I open His word and begin to recount

I think back to the One who wears the crown

 

He brings to my remembrance through the pages of His book

Where I need to lay my eyes that on Him I should look

I think on the riches of His glory and the majesty of His throne

He sits upon it ruling and reigning He is God alone

 

He looks down upon me and in His grace reminds me

Though I feel so empty so scared and insecure

In all the uncertainty of this I can be sure

                  He is my Shepherd by my side He will always be

In my stress and anxiety my worry and fear

He is my Savior who will wipe every tear

Where I am weak He is strong

He is my Source He meets every need

All these things I remember as through His story I read

 

He is my God my Lord and my King

Every sorrow and trouble to Him will I bring

He is my Light in the darkness when I can’t find the way

In the shadow of His wings I will always stay

He is and He was and will always be

Everything to me