Thursday, December 31, 2009


These are some quotes, thoughts, and ideas pulled from a couple of messages by a man named Rob Rufus.  These ideas were very encouraging to me, and I hope they encourage you, too:


I am in the presence of God today.
I expect good things to happen because of the New Covenant.
There is no condemnation on me today!
I am the righteousness of God in Christ today!
God approves of me 100%!
God is on my side and has taken my position to defend me.
I am free from fear of judgment because judgment has passed.
Not because of me but because of Christ on my behalf.
I am safe forever with my King!

I expect good today!
The New Covenant makes me bold in the Spirit of freedom.
I walk though this world free from wrath!
The Father loves me and cares about me.
The Father doesn't remember what I've done wrong.
The Father took an oath never to remember my sin but to bless!
The Son became poor so I am rich today.
The Son became sin so I am righteous today.
The blood declares I am righteous forever!
The Spirit is telling me my sins are gone and I'm perfect forever!
I have received fullness in Christ.
I am a prince and royal priest in the house of God!

                                                  (quotes and ideas - Rob Rufus)

Monday, December 28, 2009

His Purpose - To Love Us As His Children

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of heaven!  For consider what He has done - before the foundation of the world He chose us to become, in Christ, His holy and blameless children living within His constant care.  He planned, in His purpose of love, that we should be adopted as His own children through Jesus Christ - that we might learn to praise that glorious generosity of His which has made us welcome in the everlasting love He bears toward the Beloved.  It is through Him, at the cost of His own blood, that we are redeemed, freely forgiven through that full and generous grace which has overflowed into our lives and opened our eyes to the truth.
                                                    Eph 1 (Phillips translation)

Amazing - His purpose all along was to bring us into the family so that He could lavish on us the very love that is enjoyed among the Trinity! (To imagine that the Father loves us just as much as He loves Jesus is mind-bogggling!)  He wanted us as His children, and He's put us forever under His constant love and care.  What a beautiful life we have with Him!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Grace At Work: A Real-Life Example

I thought I'd share an example of how grace works itself into my life.  Here's the the thought process I went through today and how the God of grace did His special "God-thing" so beautifully:

For some reason today, I started thinking these thoughts:  "I must not be a very loving person.  Compared to _____, I'm certainly not!  Probably people start to get to know me and then pull away from me because they think I'm unloving.  I need to be more loving.  How can I work on that?  Do I need to try to do one good thing for someone every week?"  (You can see how these thoughts are performance-based..)

Then, like fresh air in a smoky room came God's heart toward me:  "Even if you never love another person, I LOVE YOU.  I'll NEVER pull away from you or distance Myself from you.  I am with you..  You ARE loving because you have the Ultimate Lover, who laid down His life for His friends,  inside you as your life. You have His loving nature.  And that love WILL come out.  So rest, my dear..."

And peace reigned again.  That's the way the God of grace works in my life!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Our Immanuel: Looking Into the Face of God

Jesus is God reaching out and embracing the world, wrapping His arms around every one of us.  He is God accepting us, God loving us, God forgiving us, God reconciling us, God with us.

Jesus is God with us in the flesh - Immanuel.  Jesus puts a face on God, and it's a nonthreatening face.  That face has a hauntingly beautiful look of something we've hardly dared to dream of in the face of God:  the look of a love without any conditions or any strings attached.  A love given for free no matter who we are or what we've done.  A love that calls the ugliest sinner a beautiful child.  A love that is literally dying to be with us!

When we look into His eyes, we know something.  No matter what our past, our struggles, or our doubts may be, we know something.  At that moment, we know we're accepted.

We know we're accepted, because in His eyes we see the unconditional love called grace.  We see a God who stoops to love and rescue the unlovable.  We see a God who saves (for "Jesus" means "God saves") by absorbing all our sin into His death so we can be raised up to a new life of walking hand in hand with Him forever.

Jesus is our Immanuel!  By His death and resurrection, He offers us a gift - Himself!  He offers His own life to indwell us forever!  To live for us, to love us, to hold us, to keep us, to be our most Intimate Friend.  This is God with us!  This is Love with us!

Jesus shows us who God is, and His other name is Grace!

Merry Christmas to all as we celebrate the gift of His life given freely to us!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

White Christmas Eve

Here are some pictures from the nearby mountains.  I've never had a white Christmas in my life, but went up in the mountains today to enjoy beautiful SNOW!  I'm counting this as a white Christmas (Eve)!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas With My Daddy

Growing up, I was blessed to have the greatest daddy in the world.   He delighted in giving me gifts, whether homemade (like a treehouse) or store bought (like a pretty dress).  One Christmas I decided that I wanted a little musical snowman that played "Frosty the Snowman".  So I told my daddy - on Christmas Eve! - that I really wanted this present.  And sure enough, after dinner on Christmas Eve my daddy disappeared out the door to the overcrowded store.  I smiled to myself in my self-centered little way, knowing my daddy would get me whatever I wanted.

Next morning, I ran into the living room to see my presents and there was a little box.  I quickly opened it and found, not a musical snowman, but a little figurine - a boy with a lantern - that played "We Wish You A Merry Christmas".  No Frosty the Snowman music box!  My daddy explained that the store had been sold out of the Snowman music box.  Of course in my childishness I was disappointed, but over the following weeks and months I began to like the little boy with the lantern more and more.  After a while I forgot about old Frosty.

The seasons passed and I grew one year older.  Christmas was already here again.  As always, early on Christmas morning I ran in to see my presents.  There was a curious little white box among the other gifts.  I opened it, and there was the Frosty the Snowman music box!  My daddy had remembered I wanted it.  He had remembered for a WHOLE YEAR a silly girl's Christmas wish.  And he had seen to it that the wish was fulfilled!  That's just the kind of daddy I have!

My earthly daddy is the best daddy in the world!  And it amazes me that his love for me is just a tiny picture of the great love of my heavenly Daddy! 

We have a heavenly Daddy who loves us beyond our human understanding.  Our heavenly Daddy is kind and gentle towards us.  He values us as His precious children.  He holds us close to His heart and won't ever let us go.  He knew the deepest wish of our heart was to be unconditionally loved and embraced and He fulfilled that wish through Jesus.  He delighted in giving us the gift of His Life and His Love.  He knew it was just the gift we wanted and needed, and He went through so much to give it to us.  His love for us will outlast any circumstance or any foolish action on our part.  His love for us will last forever!

He loves us just as much as He loves His Son, Jesus!

(P.S. I love you, Dad!  Merry Christmas!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We Are In The Victor, Jesus

Satan is the accuser.  He tells us we're awful sinners, that God won't love us after what we just did, that we'll never be any better, that God has rejected us....ALL LIES!

The Holy Spirit is the comforter.  He tells us we're righteous, that God loves us just the same even after what we just did, that we're already perfect in Jesus, that God will never, ever reject us...ALL TRUTH!

So Satan or the flesh or human doctrines lie to us, trying to put condemnation on us - so what!  Those things are still lies: no matter how terrible they make us feel, they are not the truth!  We're still ever and only OKAY, ALRIGHT, and PERFECT because of and in Jesus, and there is NO condemnation on us!  That won't change! On the cross He took away our sins and forgave us for all time without us doing anything!  And then when we believed, He made us alive with Him for all time!  What's done is done, especially if God is the One who does the doing!  He says, "I make, and who can unmake it?" 

Satan is a defeated foe!  He's fallen and he can't get up!  We are in the Victor, Jesus, and have already won in Him!  That victory WILL come out!  No matter what crap this world or evil throws at us, we're winners in Him and that's the fact!

Monday, December 21, 2009

So Glad That Jesus Came

  He loves me so much, He loves you so much:
    * He came from one universe to another to find me
    * He came knowingly into our planet’s disease, fear and anger
    * He chose to lose all memory of heaven, to come as a baby to save earth, to rescue me
    * He came knowing He’d lose rights to use His powers to protect Himself
    * He came knowing He’d experience the pain of deceit, abandonment, including mine
    * He came knowing He’d experience violent hatred
    * He came knowing He’d experience heart-breaking loneliness, some of which I have caused
    * He came knowing He’d be rejected by his closest friends
    * He came knowing He’d suffer temptation to its end
    * He came knowing it would ultimately kill Him

“Immanuel”-God in me, God with me, God next to me, God protecting me, God defending me, God loving me, God enjoying me, God over me, God through me, God for me, God from me, God defining me, God with His arm around me.                                 

                                                               John Lynch

You know, at times in the past when I have thought of Jesus' coming and His death on the cross, I have felt guilty.  I have felt like I should have been more obedient and more holy because of all He has done for me.  But is this the reaction the cross is meant to inspire?

I once read about a painting of Christ on the cross which contained this caption at the bottom:  "All this I did for you - What have you done for Me?" Such a thought is truly condemning and guilt-producing, since we could never do anything equal to His work on the cross!  We'd be coming up short and feeling awful about it for eternity!  I don't think that caption captures Jesus' heart at all!

How about this for a caption:  "You are worth it!  You are precious to Me!  I wasn't about to let sin crush and destroy you.  I hated how it enslaved you and made you misunderstand me - not seeing Me as love!  I hate how it had trapped you, my dear!  It made me angry!  I was willing to do anything to free you from sin's grip.  I would do anything - even move aside this whole creation - just to get you back, to win you!  YOU ARE WORTH IT!"

That's what the Incarnation and Passion of Jesus mean to me!  And now that He's shown me His heart about it all, I don't feel guilty anymore - I feel special and loved!  And that's true for all of us - we are special and loved to Him, and He says we are worth dying for...we are worth it!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

He Understands

I think for many years I have felt it was wrong or un-Christian to feel certain emotions.  I felt it was wrong to feel angry, that I should be calm always.  I felt it was wrong to feel depressed, that I should always be "up" and happy.  I felt it was wrong to feel confused, that I must always have everything figured out.  But I think that really there is no emotion that we are "not allowed" to feel.  Jesus understands us completely.  He knows what hurts us.  I think He wants us to feel completely at home with Him and able to share how we really feel.  We have His complete acceptance and He is a safe place for us to share our hurts.

Are we afraid?
    He understands.

Are we hurting?
    He understands.

Are we alone?
    He understands.

Are we struggling?
    He understands.

Are we depresssed?
    He understands.

Are we angry?
    He understands.

Are we despairing?
    He understands.

Are we anxious?
    He understands.

Are we frustrated?
    He understands.

Are we numb?
    He understands.

Are we confused?
    He understands.

And I think that not only does He understand, but He also completely accepts us with those feelings and even feels those things along with us.  He  is with us in every emotion, and there with Him is our place of safety to share our heart.  We will not be judged or ridiculed, we will not be rebuked or condemned for what we are feeling.  Instead, we will know His tender care and utter compassion in the midst of all that we feel.  We are allowed to feel.  We are free to be real.  He knows, understands, and feels what's in our human hearts because He has a human heart, too. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wonderful Truths of Grace, Part 10

                           GRACE IS FOREVER

Grace is forever.  Grace means that God will always be for us and never against us.  He will always hold us.  He will always love us.  He will always accept us. 

Grace always comes to us and grace always finds us.  No matter what we've done, where we've been, or who we've become, He will always accept us.  Always welcome us.  Always means always.

Grace, whose other name is Jesus, will never let us down.  The love that formed the universe will uphold our hearts and uphold our souls.  And uphold our eternity.  We will be forever loved, forever accepted, forever held.

Grace always comes to us.
Grace always holds us.
Grace is forever.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Special Quote

Here's a special quote God gave me recently:

"Peter knew that noone had ever loved him or could ever love him as Jesus did.  The Son of the living God looked into his eyes...and loved him.  The love of Jesus for Peter lay in His complete and unconditional acceptance of him."

God delights in breaking through the craziness of our world and daily life to bring us a love message.  Sometimes it's hard to believe He loves us, for so many other messages come in that seem to say the opposite.  We hear so many lies.  Yet God is true.  He looks into our eyes and sees all the fear, doubt, anxiety, despair, and confusion that is there at times....and He loves us.  He takes us just as we are.  He accepts us without hesitation.  We are worth His Son, which makes us quite valuable and special.  Our sins are gone and we stand before Him beautiful at all times.  I want to gaze into those eyes and be renewed and swept away in the Love that holds me forever!  And I pray that you will experience that Love in a special way, too!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Wonderful Truths of Grace, Part 9


The goal of God for our lives is not to change us but to love us.  We won't always have perfect circumstances or perfect behavior, but the cross brought us and God into a perfect relationship.  The goal of God for our lives is for us to enjoy that relationship. 

God wants to hang out with us.  He likes for us to just enjoy everyday life together.  Our life with God is a dance of two lovers who gaze into each other's eyes and swirl around with joy. 

God didn't love us in order to improve us, change us, fix us, or use us for His program.  He loved us in order to share everything of Himself with us.  God's "main thing" is Life.  He made us alive with His Life and shares His Life (Himself) with us.

We can relax and just "be" with God.  Our mission and purpose is just "being" with Him, knowing and being known, sharing life together, enjoying Love.  This is eternal life - knowing Him!  That's the whole reason He brought us to be alive in union with Him.  We are in eternal union with God.  There is no end to this dance of love.  He will forever be whispering in our ear "I love you. I love you. I love you."  There is Someone who knows all about us, our hopes, our fears, our pains, our loss, our doubts, our failures, our insecurities, our longings, - and LOVES US AS WE ARE!  There is a Holy Lover.  There is a True Friend.  There is Someone who will always listen to us, always understand us, always be there for us.  He will be faithful forever, for no matter where our confusion may sometimes take us, He will be traveling down that road with us, loving us perfectly, gently, truly. 

We are accepted in the Beloved.  We are at home in God!  We were made for this!  We are known and understood, accepted and held forevermore!

Friday, December 11, 2009

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Let not your heart be troubled, His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


Some think sparrows are worthless little brown birds.  It's hard to even tell one species from another.  But Jesus knows each one.  Not one of those little feather-bundles falls to the ground without His knowing, seeing, and feeling.  He cares for each of those seemingly unimportant creatures.  They are beautiful and worth much in His sight. 

I have seen myself in exactly this way, seemingly small and insignificant.  I may seem that way to myself or even others, but I'm not that way to God.  I am loved.  Cherished.  Significant.  Watched over, held, accepted.  Never alone.  I have a constant Friend, and I can rest and relax in His goodness!  His love has set me free!  So I can sing and be happy, for His eye is on me.  His heart is on me.  His love is on me.  And His life is in me!  I may be little but I am loved!

That's true for all of us sparrows!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wonderful Truths of Grace, Part 8


God is not relating to us on the basis of law; the cross dealt with that.  Christ nailed the law, with all its ordinances and requirements against us, to the cross (Col. 2:14).  He fulfilled the law for us.  He took it out of the way, and the law is now obsolete.  He is the end of the law for righteousness for all who believe (Rom 10:5).  We died to the law by the cross and were married to Christ (Rom. 7:4).

God makes no demands on us.  We have no requirements or obligations before God.  God doesn't "should" on us.  We have no Christian duties or obligations.  We are free from the law!  We are not under the law but under grace. We don't think about good and evil, right and wrong, do's and don'ts; we think about Life!  We now have Christ in us, with His righteous nature and desires inside.  Christ is our life, and He will live through us and keep us.  We are truly free from worrying about what we should or shouldn't do, free to enjoy our relationship with Christ!

We never need to do something to get God's favor, for we already have it as a gift by Jesus' work, not our own!  And we never need to do something to "regain" the favor we feel we've lost by sinning.  The fact is, we don't lose His favor when we sin.  (Since His favor is based on Christ's perfect work, the only way we could lose that favor would be if Christ were to sin!  Not gonna happen!)  We are truly free from trying to get God's acceptance and a perfect relationship with Him, free to enjoy the acceptance and perfect relationship we ALREADY have with Him as a gift through Jesus!

The Christian life isn't about what we must do for God; it is about what Jesus already did for us.  It's not all up to us, but all up to Christ, and Christ's work is finished!  All that's left is to enjoy the party!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Right With God and Accepted by Him Forever

 I once read a wonderful illustration in the book Classic Christianity.  The author, Bob George, describes a time when he spoke at a seminary:

"In the course of discussing the Christian's identity in Christ, I asked a series of questions.  "How many of you," I asked, "are as righteous and acceptable in the sight of God as I am?"  Every hand in the auditorium was raised.  "How many of you," I asked again, "are as righteous and acceptable in the sight of God as Billy Graham?"  This time about half of the audience raised their hands.  "How many of you are as acceptable and righteous in the sight of God as the apostle Paul?"  There were around ten percent of the hands raised.  "Now here's the really tough one," I said.  "How many of you in the sight of God are as righteous and acceptable as Jesus Christ?"  Only three hands were raised out of an entire auditorium of seminary students.

"I..told that group of students..."If you are a true Christian, then you are as righteous and acceptable in the sight of God as Jesus Christ!"...2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

"Righteousness (a right standing of total acceptability before God) is a gift.  You don't work for it.  You don't earn it.  You don't deserve it.  Like any gift, all you can do is accept it or reject it.  And once you have it, it's yours.    

"Those seminary students,able to effectively defend the doctrine of justification by faith, were too timid to state in so many words that they are as righteous as Jesus.  And yet to say one is to say the other.  The word "justified" means to be "declared totally righteous."  (Bob George)

For many years as a Christian, I never felt God accepted me, and that was all I was searching for, all I wanted, just to know He accepted me. I always felt He was disappointed with me.  I felt He must be thinking, "Oh, I love you but I wish you could just do better" sickens me now to think of that LIE I was under!

I also suffered for years under the burden of trying to get "right" with God.  Every time I sinned, I felt I was not "right" with God. So I assumed I needed to pray and confess and somehow show I was going to really be dedicated this time, and then maybe He'd forgive me and I'd be "right" with Him again - ugh - another LIE! (As Bill Gillham says, I rededicated my life to Him so many times that my "rededicator" got worn out! And all along it wasn't my dedication that mattered but His - He is dedicated to us! That's why this whole Christian life thing is so sure!)

Yet here was "justified" being defined as being declared RIGHT/righteous, and here was "righteousness" being defined as being ACCEPTABLE to God and in RIGHT STANDING with Him!  As I read that, it just all clicked together suddenly!  I'd been a Christian for so many years and I didn't even know what those words really meant! Ever since I'd become a Christian I'd been RIGHT with God and ACCEPTED by God. Ever since that day! Every second! No matter what! I had been accepted and right with God all along! What a relief - I can't explain it! It stills feels so wonderful,
years later!

If you have believed in Christ, you are right with God and accepted by Him now and forever!  Nothing can change that!  You have been welcomed in and received into His arms of love for all time!  You are acceptable, okay with God, totally righteous, in right standing, - however you want to say it, everything is all right now between you and God!  You're perfect for Him and in intimate relationship with Him.  He delights in you.  He adores you!  He embraces you completely!  Isn't grace the best thing going?  Grace is something I think we'll be celebrating for all eternity! He saved us to show us His kindness and grace for all eternity - isn't that wonderful!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

By Your Side

Jesus' love song to the world:

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

                                  Tenth Ave. North

Friday, December 4, 2009

God And Sinners Reconciled

Hark, the herald angels sing!
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!

When I was in college, I once borrowed something of my friend's without asking her permission.  She was understandably upset, and I was so embarrassed that I couldn't bring myself to apologize.  Years and years later I was still feeling this low-grade guilt about that episode.  Whenever I thought of my friend, I immediately thought of my offense against her.  Finally I gathered up courage and called her on the phone.  I said, "I am so sorry I took your ___, please forgive me."  And you know what she replied?  "I don't even remember that incident!"  Then she told me that all these years she had felt guilty because she had promised to make me a cross-stitch picture (she does beautiful needlework) and she never had made it.  And to that I replied, "I don't remember THAT!"

All these years we had felt guilty about an offense that the other person didn't even REMEMBER!  We had assumed the other person was angry and hurt, when the other person had only good and friendly feelings!  We had felt estranged when all the time the other felt only friendship.  We had been living behind a barrier that didn't even exist, that wasn't even there!  We both felt relief that day and were able to put all our fears and guilt to rest and get on with being friends again.

God and sinners reconciled - the baby born as King and Savior took away our sins and reconciled us to God.  That's true for the whole world (John 1:29)!  He has promised never to remember our sins again, for they are GONE!  They were placed on Christ who became sin for us, and they were absorbed into death forever, never to rise up again.  There is NO barrier between us and God!  We feel estranged, when we think of Him we think of our offense, but He is feeling only love and friendship.  We say, "Oh God, my sin!"  And He says, "What sin?  I've forgotten you ever sinned.  I don't REMEMBER your sin!"  The One we've assumed was angry and hurt is actually looking on us with love and acceptance!  What a gift! We can look at God with clear and unashamed eyes, knowing we've got a Friend. 

Through Jesus God has reconciled the world to Himself and made us His friends.  The eyes of God which gaze on us are full of love and grace.  We receive, we rejoice, we shout for joy, "God accepts me and welcomes me into His arms!  My sins are gone and there is nothing between us!  I am God's friend and He is mine!"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wonderful Truths of Grace, Part 7


God is not dealing with us in reference to sin - the cross finished that.  On the cross Jesus took away all the sins of all people for all time.  He took away all sins - past, present, and future (John 1:29).  Our sins are all forgiven and taken away (lifted off of me).  The punishment due to humanity for sin was taken by Christ - our death He died - so there is no punishment left for us.

When we sin it changes nothing in our relationship with God.  We don't go out of fellowship or stop being "right" with God or need to try to get forgiven.  The sin is already dealt with and we are forgiven people at all times.  We're right with God forever because of Jesus; that won't change no matter what we do.  That means that even in the midst of our worst sin, God is looking on us with a smile and delighting in us!  He's already taken care of that sin completely at the cross (Jesus' work is FINISHED) so it isn't on His mind; what's on His mind is His love for us and His joy in the new creation He made us in Christ!

Thus sin can never come between us and God.  All guilt and shame and condemnation are removed; if we feel any of that, it is not from God.  At the cross all sins were forgiven and God is not counting the sins of the world against them.  Sin, being taken away at the cross, is not longer an issue between us and God.  God is not pointing out what's wrong with us; He's pointing out what's right with us because of Christ!  God doesn't see our sins.  He sees us in Christ as holy new creations with Christ's righteous life inside!
May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14