Unfathomable oceans of grace are in Christ for you. Dive and dive again, you will never come to the bottom of these depths. How many millions of dazzling pearls and gems are at this moment hid in the deep recesses of the ocean caves! But there are unsearchable riches in Christ.
Evidences of God’s Grace in 2013
When [Barnabas] arrived [in Antioch] and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. (Acts 11:23) over
It’s over a month late, but I still wanted to do this as I have done in 2012 and 2011. I often forget how gracious God is to me and this helps me to remember. Maybe you should make one for your year too?
- Began the year on the other side of the world, in the mountains of Colorado with snow gently falling and letting off fireworks, with good friends. It was beautiful!
- I got to travel through some amazing places: searching for alligators in the Everglades; discovering the Caribbean, a region I’d never known much about, and experiencing their wonderful mix of cultures and food and the beautiful scenery. Some of it just blew me away. And being back in some British and Dutch colonies just made me feel so at home. God’s work is incredibly awesome, and he graciously gives it to us to see and explore.
- A month of travelling alone meant much thinking, reading, praying, and generally enjoying the solitude, yet knowing God was with me always.
- Flew home to a family who loves me and some wonderful friends who I’d missed.
- Came to appreciate Australia, Wollongong, my University, and my Church much more than I had before
- Made it to the age of 21!
- Spent a week holidays down the coast with a group of wonderful people, just relaxing and enjoying being with them (and made a video of it all!) (and then went to Katoomba for a weekend with them too!)
- Asked a really awesome girl to go out with me and spent the rest of the year having such a wonderful time with her. An absolute gift from God.
- Whereas last year in was Ben Howard, I was blessed with The Gray Havens as my choice of soundtrack for the year.
- Kept in touch with all the great people I met in America in 2012, thankful for the technology which allows this to happen so easily.
- Spent a week exploring Tasmania in the fantastic company of three other great people. It’s a really nice place! God just keeps cranking out awesome places to visit.
- Read 40 books, and through it started loving fiction more, kept loving God more, and kept enjoying this wonderful world more, and became much better friends with Clive Staples Lewis.
- Went on a number of camps to hear the Bible preached by such gifted speakers. Sydney’s blessed by such good bible teaching.
- Watched 4 seasons of The West Wing. Now that is a blessing to mankind.
- Went down to the Australian ski fields twice to ski. They’re not much on a world-scale, but come on, isn’t snow just so awesome!
- God blessed our church with new facilities, with so many new opportunities to proclaim his name.
- Heard some of the greatest music at the Opera House
- Farewelled a good friend who suddenly passed away, but was once again reminded of the comfort of God and the blessing of Christian community.
- And much more..,
Thou hast not left me, though I oft left Thee.
On to the close Lord, abide with me.
I believe that most people, Christians as well as non-Christians, are so starved for the genuine interest of one other person that a little bit of concern from someone who cares goes a mighty long way. One of the most plaintive statements in the Bible is David’s cry in Psalm 142:4, “No one cares for my soul”. Do you know someone who possibly feels that way? If so, you have an opportunity to do good to that person by saying, “I just want you to know I care.”
God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He created the universe, already foreseeing – or should we say ‘seeing’? there are no tenses in God – the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a ‘host’ who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and ‘take advantage of’ Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.
To take up your cross is to consider it better to die than to live for something other than Jesus.
But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of the Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends “You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others. They are no greater than the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them. They are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by Him through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as for revealing. At this feast it is He who has spread the board and it is He who has chosen the guests. It is He, we may dare to hope, who sometimes does, and always should, preside. Let us not reckon without our Host.
Above all, Eros (while it lasts) is necessarily between two only. But two, far from being the necessary number for Friendship, is not even the best. And the reason for this is important.
Lamb says somewhere that if, of three friends (A, B, and C), A should die, then B loses not only A but ‘A’s part in C’, while C loses not only A but ‘A’s part in B’. In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s reaction to a specifically Caroline joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him ‘to myself’ now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald. Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend. They can then say, as the blessed souls say in Dante, ‘Here comes one who will augment out loves.’
A real Christian is an odd number, anyway.
He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen;
talks familiarly everyday to someone he cannot see;
expects to go to heaven on the virtue of another;
empties himself in order to be full;
admits he is wrong so he can be declared right;
goes down in order to get up;
is strongest when he is weakest;
richest when he is poorest;
happiest when he feels the worst.
He dies so he can live;
forsakes in order to have;
gives away so he can keep;
sees the invisible;
hears the inaudible;
and knows that which passeth knowledge.