July 14, 2014

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

We are home! Yes, we are back home after our long weekend away visiting with my brother and family. It has been a fun weekend, tiring of course, given the drive over to LA. God gave us great favor as we traveled. We made excellent time, had little traffic (well, little LA traffic), and very good weather. Our visit was short, but it was nice to be able to spend time with family. My brother's children are grown now (the youngest is in college here in AZ). One lives in IL, and one is married. The other two are single. It is difficult to get everyone together, so whenever we can spend time (either here or there) we do it. God provided for our trip and made it possible for us to spend quality time together.

One of the highlights of the weekend was visiting my brother's church, Lighthouse Bible Church, in Simi Valley. We have been there before, but it has been a long while since our last visit. This is a small active church. Their teaching and worship style are different from our church here in Phoenix. They sing hymns, which made my Dad very happy. Dad loves hymns, and the older he gets, the more he will vocally say how much he misses them. The last hymn we sung on Sunday was this one:


Grace Greater Than Our Sin

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
    grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
    Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured,
    there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
 

Refrain:
    Grace, grace, God's grace,
    grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
    grace, grace, God's grace,
    grace that is greater than all our sin!
 

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
    threaten the soul with infinite loss;
    grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
    points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
    (Refrain)
 

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
    What can avail to wash it away?
    Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
    brighter than snow you may be today.
    (Refrain)
 

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
    freely bestowed on all who believe!
    You that are longing to see his face,

    will you this moment his grace receive?
    (Refrain)


Not only is this a good, old fashioned Methodist hymn, but it happens to be my father-in-law's favorite hymn. As we were singing it, I could hear my dear FIL harmonizing along with me. He used to do this when they lived near us. We attended church together for many years, and Dad loved to help me sing (I am not a singer, but he is). He would often ask me to sing along with him when we were in the car together or when I was taking care of him. This song brought back so many sweet wonderful memories of my FIL, an amazing, Godly man.

The neat thing about visiting other churches is the fact that you get to experience worship in a different way. I love my church, and I love the way we do worship (contemporary). Lighthouse Bible is far more conservative in their approach to ministry. They remind me of many of the small churches I attended as a child.

As I think about God's Grace, His Marvelous Grace, I am reminded of how indebted I am to Him for everything in my life. I am filled with awe as I stand today, thinking on my life, and considering the plans He has for me. I know some of these plans, I know what I am called to do, but I don't know everything He has in mind for me. What I do know is this: His mercy never ends, His love is without fail, and He is faithful to keep all His promises.

Lord,

Thank you for the blessing of family. I am grateful for the family you have given to me, and I am grateful for the larger Church family that I know at Paradise Church and through other ministry/churches. I praise you this day for all your blessings. I thank you for your provision and good will in my life. I trust you to provide for me, and to protect me from harm. I know that you are with me and you are leading me through these days and on into the life you have chosen for me. May your will be done in every area of my life. I give you my life this day, and I lay it down to follow after you.

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