Saturday, September 14, 2013

Renew My Strength (revised)

Renew My Strength
Peggy Mack
September 14, 2013

Friday morning, I read the following post from The Grace Place:
 "Lord…give me the gift of faith to be renewed and shared with others each day. Teach me to live this moment only, looking neither to the past with regret, nor the future with apprehension. Let love be my aim and my life a prayer.'  ~Roseann Alexander-Isham

I immediately responded heart and soul to those words.  As I read them, I experienced an old memory swirling in my mind.  It was the words to a prayer we sang in church every Sunday morning.
Psalms 51:10-11

Create in me a clean heart, Oh God!
  And renew a right spirit within me. 
Cast me not away from thy presence.
 And take not thy Holy Spirit from me. 
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation
 and uphold me with thy free spirit.

I am beginnning to recognize the feeling of "having something touch my soul."  I understand how when we are daily connected to God through conversation that we are more open to being touched in some positive way by what we experience through reading, speaking, coming in contact with others, etc.  I am realizing that while we may celebrate the day we gave our lives to Christ, that is only the date of the beginning of our journey.  I am accepting that faith is a living well spring of God's loving grace.  We are free to go to Him throughout our days to be strengthened, calmed, refreshed, protected, etc.  Our faith is a "doing" part of our life.

Now, I have a tiny library of devotional sources that I keep by me in a large purse/storage bag that once held my laptop securely for flying to Nashville.  Those books are the sources I turn to in my morning readings.  A new one, which was recently added, came from a dear friend of 45 years!  Sandi Lloyd sent me a precious "Pocket Prayers for Women~Simple Prayers of Blessings".  As tiny as it is, it is packed with amazing, encouraging words.  She is a blessing in my life over decades of trials and joys.  The quote for today reads as follows:

"Blessings, like miracles, appear only when we believe in them.  Faith gives us the eyes with which to see and to believe what we see."

One of the sweet gifts I have received this summer is the sense that blessings flow so gently and await each of us around the next corner.  Yes, the world and our daily routine flood us with challenges, but, if we keep our hearts filled with faith, we will see and experience daily blessings that hold us strong. And, if throughout our day, we return to this "Fount of Blessing" we are strengthened and renewed.

The blessing I received from the tiny words on Facebook Friday said, "....give me the gift of faith to be renewed....."  Zap!  The light went on in my brain!  Faith is an active participation of our minds, hearts and souls in a chosen decision to answer God's calling to us to speak with Him and in doing so, we open ourselves up to daily renewal of faith and so many blessings.

How amazing is that?  I wrote a Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) lyric with a wonderful, Christian, composer and minister of music in Panama City which later lead to completing lyrics for his CD.  The title of our first song was, "Is It True?"  In my first moments of renewal of faith and my own personal relationship with Christ in 2004 the thought hit me like a truck!  What am I waiting for?  If God is right here and He wants to communicate with me, love me, lead me, give me everlasting Salvation, grace and hope, what am I "thinking"? "What am I waiting for?"  Jesus is right here!  He is waiting for us to ask Him to enter our lives for abundant forgiveness, blessings, grace and salvation. So the question really is, "why would anyone wait?"  I felt like a huge light had lit up my mind to clarify my own thoughts.

When I saw this line about renewal of faith and I remembered the song in church, ".....Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a RIGHT spirit within me...." I felt this total realization that our faith is not stagnant. it is ever moving, ever changing and ever growing.   In that moment, I smiled and realized, "Oh no! oh wow! There's another step to this summer adventure!" 

I need to not only start my day with morning meditations and fill my day with whispered conversations with God, but I need to add evening prayers of confession, asking God for forgiveneness. I need to leave my frustrations, shortcomings, disappointments, etc, at His feet.  Before I go to bed at night and spend the night tossing and turning, maybe I should take in a deep breath and thank God for the day and all its blessings.  Ask forgiveneness for all the things I did and didn't do that I should have done.  Finally, I should ask Him for blessings for others. And in releasing the burdens of the day, I should believe that God has taken those burdens, forgiven my sins and granted me a place of  rest in His comfort, believing He renews my faith each morning.
For while it is true that David requests that God requests God will "create in me a clean heart", that request is preceded by his humble confession of sins and his recognition of God's power in Psalm 51: 1-9.
It is important to end our day by humbling ourselves to God in prayer, recognizing His power and mercy and asking His forgiveness.  Then we can follow our surrendering of sins in our night time with sweet confidence in our morning renewal of a clean heart and steadfast spirit.

 Hebrews 10:22 (KJV)
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Psalm 30:5

New International Version (NIV)

5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

By ending my day in prayer and meditation and forgiveness, I can truly experience receiving a renewal of a right spirit within me with the morning.  Each day truly is a new day and a new opportunity to be a blessing in the lives of others.  It is important to take time to reflect on daily things we have done poorly or neglected doing, asking and accepting God's forgiveness and then sleeping in the comfort of forgiveness, confident we will be renewed in the morning with a fresh daily abundance of blessings and a renewal of our "right" spirit.

Once again, I have grown in knowledge and understanding because of one tiny positive thought from The Grace Place that connected to another and grew into a realization of joy.  Not only am I connecting with God each morning through devotions and prayers, but my faith is renewed with each new day!  I am so grateful for the friendships I have made in this time of studying and writing and prayer.

Dear Heavenly Father,
It is you who calls us and you who waits patiently for us to come to you. You give us the choice, but your hope is that we will come in faith, believing as a child as we grow in faith. With each evening, hear our prayers filled with the days concerns and mistakes and forgive us so that in the morning, we will experience joy in the morning as our faith is renewed!
Praise God for all that is Good!
In Jesus' Name,

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