Faithful. It’s Who He IS

When life as you know it changes, the bottom falls out, and everything gets turned upside down, what’s your first response?  When my first child was diagnosed with autism, my first response was denial.  When my second child was diagnosed with autism, my first response was fear.  When my third child was diagnosed with autism, my first response was gratitude in prayer.Faithful

What I have learned over the past 9 years is God is faithful.  He can be trusted.  He is everything His Word says He is.  I am now able to look back to that first diagnosis and see the Lord’s hand over everything.  The doctors and therapists He placed in our lives to help my daughter, the Sunday School class He so wisely guided us to, and the support system He was building around us without us even realizing it was all a part of His work.  I didn’t understand all that was happening, but became grateful He was in control when I was not.  What transpired over the last few years has been a joy in which to be a part.  I have seen God work in my life and in my husband’s life as we navigated the water of three kids with autism.

We saw everything we read about in scripture of who God is to be true.  He knows every detail and nothing surprises Him.  He’s trustworthy for this reason alone and more than able to guide our every step.  When everything seems out of control and beyond our control, we could rest knowing He works all things for good to those who love Him.  We only needed to keep our eye on the Cross, not the storm.  Through it all, we have direct access to Christ.  We are able to cry out to Him in the midst of all the chaos, knowing He hears my heart’s cry, and counts my tears.  My pain will not go to waste.  His word will not return void.  I have seen my God be exactly who He says He is.  He is faithful.  He can be trusted.  He loves me and my family far more than my head can comprehend.

“Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” 1 Peter 4:19

I will seek His will for my life, trust that when life gets tough and trials come, He is who He says He is.  Faithful.

About the Writer:
Tamie is a stay at home wife and mommy of three kids with autism.  She is a member of First Baptist Dallas and enjoys spending time hanging out at home with her family or a quiet dinner with girlfriends.  Tamie is passionate about encouraging other woman in their daily walk with the Lord.

Beyond What You Can Bear

The day after Christmas, a line of thunderstorms rolled through North Texas, producing seven tornadoes. More than 600 homes were destroyed and eleven people were killed. One of the tornadoes hit just one mile east of our house, one mile! This same tornado damaged two churches. A pastor was inside one of the churches as the tornado hit and the building collapsed. I watched a news clip of him and then made the mistake of reading the comments posted online. One man made a snide remark about how our all-powerful God couldn’t even protect this church. The pastor, although shaken, was cheerful and confident in His faith. God had protected him and his wife. The church was just a building and they could rebuild.

Beyond What You Can BearPeople want to believe that God will not allow them to suffer or any hardship in their lives.  Everyone, even Christians, want to stand on their own pride and believe that they can handle everything on their own, because God would not give them more than they can bear. But this is not true. We will face trials and hard times, experience pain, lose loved ones, have our homes leveled by a tornado, and will be taken beyond what we can bear. Why would a loving God allow this in our lives?

God wants us to rely solely on Him. We build up securities in our lives and try to protect ourselves as best we can. I feel safe in my brick home, but homes just like mine were not able to stand when the tornado passed by them. My security should not be in worldly things, but the creator of the universe.

We will be taken beyond what we think we can bear, because in that place, we recognize our weaknesses and discover His strength. In the midst of our worst times, when we are unable to stand – He stands for us. When we cannot find the words to pray, the Spirit intercedes on our behalf.

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…”     Romans 8:26

God is faithful. He is worthy of our trust. He is the only thing that we can put our trust in – not our homes, other people, our finances, our health, or our own strength. But trust in God alone. It will be hard to see the good during our hard times, but God sees the big picture. God is building your testimony of His faithfulness in your life.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

About the Writer:
Meghan is a former art teacher who feels blessed to now be a stay-a-home mom to her two boys. She loves volunteering at her sons’ school and with the First Baptist Dallas Women’s Ministry and First Impressions Team. She is passionate about art, cooking, working out, and playing volleyball.

Faithfulness of God

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’, says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:22-2

This passage has always been one of my favorites, mainly because of the word picture it paints in my mind. I’m a very visual person, so the fact that God is reminding us that His mercies are new with the dawning of every single day really resonates with me. Waiting is hard, y’all. Can I get an “amen”?  Waiting on that pregnancy test to read positive, waiting for that new job to come through you have been praying about for months, waiting for that special guy to finally come into your life; just when you start to think you’re meant to be single and on fire for Jesus always. I don’t know of anyone who actually likes to wait.  It’s human nature to want things right here and now.

FaithfulnessI am reminded of the story in Mark about the woman who bled for 12 years. It’s difficult for me to imagine the fatigue and anxiety that would follow such a traumatic illness lasting 12 long years with no relief. The story begins with the disappointment of the woman spending all of her living on medical relief, but to no avail. I imagine she was feeling rather depressed and desperate to get some relief. Apparently she had heard about Jesus and the way he was healing people from illnesses.

After hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak.  For she thought, ‘If I just touch His garments, I will get well’.  Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her ‘affliction'”. (Mark 5: 27-29)  What faithfulness and courage!  “And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.’” (Mark 5: 34)  Wow! How cool of a miracle is that?  Even after such a long illness, this woman still had faith that she would be healed. What are you waiting on that seems impossible?  Is there a hope that may be shriveling up because there seems to be no solution or answer to prayer?  Will we stay faithful to God even though we don’t see the outcome?  The verse below has been such an encouraging one to me this year especially.  I pray it revives the hope God has placed deep in your soul.  “So let us know; let us press on to know the Lord.  His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and he will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.” (Hosea 6:3)

About the Writer
Anna is very loyal, loves to laugh, and passionate about Jesus.  She works in the Young Married Department at First Dallas, as well as supporting the events for the Senior Adult and Women’s ministries. She also has a heart for Orphan advocacy and youth ministry. When not helping with these, she can be found studying to complete her undergraduate degree, laughing with friends, or drinking copious amounts of coffee.


Hope Where There is No Sight

I could wager you can’t read these words without hearing a tune.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father!

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not; Thy compassions, they fail not:

As thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided –

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

These words from Great is Thy Faithfulness written by Thomas O. Chishom, 1866-1960, encourage. They are true. His compassions never fail! He is faithful! His mercies are new . . . every morning!Every morning

The truths of Lamentations 3:21-24 (ESV) are the foundation and framework of the beautiful hymn quoted above, Great Is Thy Faithfulness.

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘therefore I will hope in Him.’ ”

These words penned by the prophet Jeremiah around 586 b.c. encourage. They are truth. The covenant, loyal love of the LORD never ceases! His faithfulness is great! His mercies are new . . . every morning.

Notice one interesting addition Thomas Chishom made to the truths Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations – Morning by morning new mercies I see.  Jeremiah never saw new mercies. He prophesied for four plus decades during arguably the darkest period in the history of God’s people. He prophesied before, during, and after the siege and destruction of Jerusalem – his beloved city, the city for which he wept. (Jeremiah 9:1) While he lived and prophesied, he was hated, mocked, rejected (even by family), and cast into a cistern. During the siege and after, every morning brought a new form of horror, devastation, and pain. (2 Kings 25:1-12) He didn’t see new mercies. Yet his hope remained steadfast in the love, mercy, and faithfulness of the LORD.

The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.” (Lam. 3:24 NIV)

That is a choice, sweet Friend. I will . . . I will hope in Him. Because of what I know to be true about the love of God, the mercy of God, and the faithfulness of God, I will hope in Him.

I do not know what you face this morning. Pain? Loss? Heartbreak? Rejection? Failure? Death? His steadfast love never ceases. What you face cannot separate you from His steadfast love.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

His mercies – new every morning for Jeremiah, even though he never saw them, are every bit as new for you today – this very morning. Tell your soul these encouraging bedrock truths about God. Your soul will respond, “Therefore, I will hope in Him.”

About the Writer 
Joni passionately enjoys sharing what she learns in Bible study with the ladies of Refresh and Refresh@Night. Her days are best described as comfortable chaos – filled with grandchildren, a sweet mom-in-law, study time, and unexpected changes in plan. She’s also a frequent flyer to Pittsburgh for fun and cold weather chaos with her transplanted grandchildren in the north. All of this is far from the bon bons and leisure time her husband imagines her daily enjoying!