By Grace Alone

The real life struggles of a Christian mom

Climbing Rainbows March 13, 2009

Our sermon last Sunday was on Genesis 9, in which God makes a covenant with Noah after the flood.  Our pastor pointed out that the rainbow was not a sign for Noah to remember God’s promise.  Rather, it was a sign for God to remember His promise:  “When I bring the clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh.  And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh” (Genesis 9:14-15).  It would do us no good to remember God’s promise if God Himself was not faithful to His promise.  The rainbow reminds us that God will always remember His promise, and His remembering is powerful.  Although we deserve another flood–our sin as individuals and as a human race is certainly deserving of God’s wrath–God has promised to not give us what we deserve, but rather to show us mercy by not destroying us with a flood.

Our pastor talked about one of my favorite hymns, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.”  In the third verse (my favorite), it says:

O joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain,

that morn shall tearless be.

He said that George Matheson, who wrote the words, originally wrote “I climb the rainbow through the rain,” but the words had been changed.  He talked about how when we are in stormy waters in our life, we don’t need to simply glance up at the sky, see God’s rainbow and have happy feelings.  (I’m paraphrasing here, hoping I’m accurately depicting his point.)  When the waves rage around us, we need to climb out, grasping onto the sure promises of God.  We can trust God’s mercy.  He is faithful to keep all His promises.  We can climb the rainbow in the rain and know the promise is not vain–tearless days are ahead in Heaven, if not in this life.  We may still be in the rain, but His joy will not leave us when we are holding tight to Him.

Here is a link to “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” sung by one of my favorite groups, Indelible Grace, as well as the full lyrics  by George Matheson:

1. O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe, That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

2. O light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

3. O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

4. O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead, And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.


Lessons from Leviticus February 12, 2009

Filed under: spiritual growth — Marissa Henley @ 6:30 pm
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Leviticus? Seriously?  I never thought I’d write a blog post about Leviticus.  I should have seen it coming when I started the BSF study of the life of Moses, Exodus through Deuteronomy.  (I suppose there is a post on Numbers coming soon.)  I don’t think I’ve ever studied Leviticus, other than a random reference here and there in other Bible studies.  But as always happens with God’s Word, there are great lessons there.  Here are a few that were especially meaningful to me:

In Leviticus 8, we were studying about the consecration of tabernacle and the priests.  Our lesson asked the question, “Is there some area of your life that has not been consecrated (set apart) to the Lord?”  This question was very convicting to me, and I wanted to write, “Is there an area of my life that HAS been consecrated to the Lord?”  But I tried to narrow down some key areas that have not been dedicated to God like they should and came up with my perceived control over my life and the way I spend my time and money.  I’ve been thinking lately about how I can truly consecrate these areas to the Lord.

In Leviticus 10, we read the troubling story of two of Aaron’s sons being burned up by God because they did not follow the commandments He had given them about sacrifices in the tabernacle.   Our lessons often ask us what we learned about God’s character or attributes from the passage.  This chapter showed me how serious disobedience (sin) is in God’s eyes.  We know from elsewhere in Scripture that our sin is deserving of death, and Aaron’s sons got what they deserved.  It showed me how great God’s mercy to me is–I have not gotten what I deserve.  I have done much worse things than what Aaron’s sons did.  And not only has God not burned me up on the spot, He sent His Son to take the punishment for all my sin that I might have eternal life.

In an overview of Leviticus, we read various passages where God gives the Israelites instructions about how to offer the various sacrifices He required.  The lesson talked about how each of the sacrifices cost the worshiper something.  It pointed to 2 Samuel 24:24, where David says he will not offer something to the Lord that cost him nothing.  This was another convicting point for me.  What have I sacrificed to God at a great cost?  I volunteer in the church nursery once every three months, and that costs me very little.  I am also leading the children’s choir, which carries a greater cost, and most of the time I don’t have a great attitude about that cost.  My financial giving should be more sacrificial–am I truly giving something up that I want in order to give sacrificially, or am I giving what is left over?  Contemplating the true meaning of sacrifice has changed my perspective about my service and giving to the Lord.

I also liked Leviticus 19:9-10 where God commands the Israelites not to harvest their fields all the way to the edges or strip their vineyards bare.  They are to leave some for the poor and for travellers.  This made me think about how I use my resources.  When I know we have some extra money coming, I know we will tithe on it, but I usually have the rest of it spent, at least mentally, before it hits the checking account.  And, apart from this commandment, it would be my right to use it as my husband and I decided.  But in this commandment, God is telling His people not to consume all that they have a right to consume.  I think this principle applies to me as well.  I want to be more intentional about leaving some crops  around the edges in a 21st-century sense . . . stashing some away for needs that arise so we are able to meet the needs of others.