Friday, December 31, 2010

The Lying Voice vs. Christ

A lying voice often tries to confuse me, but Christ, the Truth, reassures me..

Lying voice:  You're worthless.
Christ:  You're worth so much I laid down my life to get you back to me.

Lying voice:  You'll never change.
Christ:  I have already changed you;  you are righteous in My sight.

Lying voice:  Something terrible is going to happen to you, so be afraid.
Christ:  I am WITH YOU, and I am ALL-mighty and can handle anything!

Lying voice:  You are all alone.
Christ:  I will NEVER leave you or forsake you.

Lying voice:  How could you think such awful thoughts?
Christ:  Awful thoughts are foreign and not your own.

Lying voice:  You're a big failure; God is disappointed with you.
Christ:  God says you're His beloved child in whom He is WELL-pleased.

Lying voice:  You've got sin in your life so He won't hear your prayer.
Christ:  God hears every prayer of the righteous, and you're righteous!

Lying voice:  You must try harder if you ever hope God will accept you.
Christ:  You are fully accepted by God RIGHT NOW because of My work.

Lying voice:  Since you just blew it, how can you say you're righteous?
Christ:  You are righteous by My performance, not your own!

Lying voice:  You must keep yourself close to God.
Christ:  I'm in you and you're in me, and that's forever!

Lying voice:  Noone really cares about you or wants you around.
Christ:  You are precious to me!  I sing over you with delight!

Lying voice:  You will never get free of your problems.
Christ:  I am here, and where I am is freedom!

Lying voice:  You can't handle this trouble.  You're going to sink.
Christ:  I will handle this for you.  We're going to walk on the waves!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Put On Your Headphones



Have you ever had one of those days when you just want to shut off the stimuli coming in from the world?  To just stop and listen to that Inner Voice of Love?  He's whispering His love songs to us at all times.  I need to hear Him so much and be rejuvenated every single day.

"Anytime you feel alone, put on your headphones
Love, love's coming through your headphones
Anytime you feel alone, put on your headphones
Love, love's coming through your headphones
L-o-o-ove is coming through your headphones
L-o-o-ove is coming through your headphones"

                                                             Britt Nicole

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Church of the Broken

Here is a post I made long ago in 2010.  It expresses the way I can still feel.....seemingly broken yet actually whole, seemingly unlovely yet actually loved!  So I wanted to repost it..

 I belong to the church of the broken.  We're the mixed-up and confused, the failures, the ones whose lives sometimes get too messy for other people to handle, the ones who'll never totally get it "together."  We're the ones who've been through pain.  Who've been hurt by the world and have cried out at times, "My God, why have You forsaken me?"  The ones who don't measure up and have pretty much given up trying to.

Yes, we've given up trying and trying to measure up.  Why?  Because we've met Someone who accepts us as we are.  Someone who chased us down the dark corridors of our lives and reached out to us as we huddled, scared and lonely and crying in some corner - and held us.

We've been overtaken by a love we can't understand, a love that doesn't fit our paradigms, a love that loves the unlovely and accepts the unacceptable.  This is His church.  The church of the broken AND LOVED.

Our Friend has overwhelmed us and tackled us with His passionate love.  He has made all the difference.  Why?  He doesn't see our mess.  He doesn't see our mistakes.  He only sees innocent little children, loved, valued and accepted by Him.  Our problems aren't so big to Him, since He's All-mighty.  With Him close beside us, we feel safe again.  We feel strong again.  We feel beautiful again.  We feel whole again.  We feel hopeful again!

We have discovered a secret:  it's okay to be broken.  It's okay to be as broken and hurting and confused as we really are in our human lives, because He is going to be as Strong and Compassionate and Victorious as He really is in His resurrection Life!  Our lives, humanly speaking, may not look so good.  But it doesn't matter, because HE'S our REAL LIFE!

He's the only One we need.  He's the One who has to be strong, not us.  He's the One who has to have it together, not us.  We're leaning on Him and we're upheld EVERY TIME!  Broken yet beautiful.  Confused yet carried.  down yet up!  Feeling dead yet ALIVE!

Isn't that a great revelation?  That no matter how messed up our lives may be, we are whole in Him!  And He pours infinite wholeness into all the broken places of our lives.  It doesn't ever matter how weak we are or how bad our problem is, for HE perfect in us and is infinitely sufficient for every need we have - He handles every single thing we face!   HE is our wholeness, our sufficiency, our perfection, and He IS that right in the midst of our mess!  We don't have to clean ourselves up for Him to come; He HAS come and He is here to be with us in the mess and take care of it for us.

Jesus loves us broken ones.  And He comes through for us.  He fights for us, wins for us!  And we find in the midst of our brokenness that He has made us whole!

I love being in the church of the broken..yet loved..and accepted..and carried..and triumphant..and whole!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas

Today I experienced the first white Christmas of my little life!  It was magical to watch the flakes fall down and see the grass and trees become covered with the beautiful snow!  And it was a sacred silence that fell with the falling snow, as God touched the world with His beauty in this unexpected way!  (Unexpected for us down here in the deep South, at least, where some places haven't seen a white Christmas in almost 50 years..)

This has been a year of healing and renewal for me spiritually, and a beautiful white Christmas just sums up a special year with Him. Have you ever received such an unexpected and wonderful gift that it seemed too good to be true, that it just blew you away?  That is the way I felt a few months ago when God pulled me out of the emotional hole I'd ended up in through various circumstances.  When He brought me out of that dark cave, when it literally disappeared before my eyes as He renewed me with His very presence and the darkness, fear and sorrow disappeared...when that happened, it felt about as magical and miraculous as this white Christmas we've had here in the deep South.  And just like the snow brings a stillness, He stilled my frenzied thoughts with His presence and brought me to peace and rest.  It truly was a miracle.

That's just His sort of thing, isn't it?  He can do anything!  Anything!  As He says, "Nothing is too hard for Me.."  He loves to manifest in us the victory Christ has already won for us over the darkness.  He loves to burst into our hurt places with His love and care.  He loves to blanket us with His peaceful presence, like a quiet blanket of snow.

Thank You, Lord, for the joy of seeing a white Christmas.  And thank You that You love to say "I love you" to us in so many wonderful and unexpected ways!  

                          With love from
                                             

Joy to the World!



HIS Joy to you!

And Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Silent Night...



Into this dark and seemingly hopeless world, into our lives so often full of sorrow and despair, Someone has entered.  He has come to save us, and we are rescued!  There is hope, there is light, there is joy!  There is a restored relationship with our Daddy!  We can live again..

Thank You, Jesus!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

You Are God's Beloved

You, with all of your faults and imperfections; you, with your defects and failures; you, with your hang-ups and emotional scars; you, with your weaknesses and defeats; you, with all of your blunders, brokenness, and floundering; you are God's beloved, God's favored, the disciple whose name God calls, the one Jesus prefers to hang with, eat with, play with, talk with, cry with, and laugh with.  You are the one whom the holy God of heaven and earth longs to spend time with.  You are all of this and more.  You always have been.  And you always will be.

                                                         Karla Yaconelli
                                          (from the book Messy Spirituality)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

God Entered Our World

He entered our natural world so we could enter His supernatural world.

He entered our temporal realm so we could enter His eternal realm.

He entered our brokenness so we could enter into His wholeness.

He entered our sinful world so we could enter His righteous world.

He entered our pain so we could enter His healing.

He entered our despair so we could enter into His hope.

He entered our loneliness so we could enter into His love.

He entered our sorrow so we could enter His gladness.

He entered our darkness so we could enter His light.

He entered our prison so we could enter His freedom.

He entered our death so we could enter His Life!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kay Thompson's Jingle Bells



I'm putting this one up for the kids...We listen to this while putting up the Christmas tree every year...  :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

God With Us

Emmanuel means "God with us" -

God with us in our sorrow..

God with us in our pain..

God with us in our troubles..

God with us in our doubt..

God with us in our hurting..

God with us in our despair..

God with us in our loneliness..

God with us in our everything!

God with us - we never have to go through anything ALONE again!

I used to always feel like I was going through all my troubles alone.  I felt so vulnerable.  I felt like I could get squashed by some crisis at any moment.  I felt I was in a boxing ring without any gloves, a puny little runt standing there facing a giant.

But God renewed my mind with His wonderful Spirit.  He showed me that I am not alone!  I am not vulnerable!  I am not alone in that ring!  Someone has entered the ring to fight for me on my side!  Someone is there, a Strong Advocate to defend me against the giants that come against me!  I have learned that the word for the Spirit in John 14, Paraclete, means advocate, or one who comes by our side to take our part.  He comes to take our part and fight for us!  To uphold our end and be our strength for us!  This makes me feel so safe, secure, and loved -  not helpless anymore or vulnerable.  It makes me feel like laughing at the enemy!  I haven't ever felt this before, really! 

There is Someone in the ring with us!  God with us - Emmanuel!  He is abiding with us forever by His Spirit!  He is not even just beside us, He is IN us!  He is living THROUGH us!  And He has promised never to leave us, never to forsake us!  (Heb. 13:5b)

There is Someone with us, to fight for us, to stand up for us, to defend us, to comfort us, to cry with us, to give us hope, to lift our burdens and carry them for us, to keep us when we can't keep ourselves, to bring us through, to be what we could never be in and through us. 

He is God with us!

God with us in our laughter..

God with us in our joy..

God with us in our rejoicing..

God with us in our hopes..

God with us in our dreams..

God with us in our anticipation..

God with us in our celebrations..

God with us every day of our lives!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Fruit of the Spirit is HIS Fruit!

I was thinking recently about how the fruit of the Spirit is the fruit of the SPIRIT, not the fruit of ME!  It's HIS nature coming forth and manifesting.  It's the way HE acts and it is the product of HIS nature and work.  He lives in me and out of me flows His fruit.  I don't have to work up love, joy and faithfulness.  He is already all of those things in me.

Then I started thinking that not only does the fruit of the Spirit show how He acts through me to others, but it also shows how He acts in me, toward ME!  So many times in the past I have believed lies about His nature and character and lived in fear of Him.  Now He is showing me again and again that I never have to be afraid of One who is Perfect Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Faithfulness, Kindness, Goodness, and Self-Control.  The fruit of the Spirit is the way He treats others and it's the way He treats me, as well!

He has these traits toward us:

Love - He is always loving.  Everything He does is done out of love for us.  He is Perfect Love.  Unchanging Love.  Always for the other.  He puts our needs first and always does what is best for us.  His love flows to us constantly and unconditionally.  We can never make it stop, diminish, or be diverted from coming to us!

Joy - He's happy - He knows how things are going to turn out, so He is joyful.  And He's delighted in us and joyful over us!  He smiles at us always!   He delights in us even when we fail!  He's inner triumphant happiness no matter what the circumstance. He loves to laugh, loves to hear us laugh, loves to see us having a good time.

Peace - He is calm and well-being and absence of strife.  He doesn't have to strive - He's already overcome!  He's in complete control.  He has complete authority over evil and so is not worried about it.  In Him all is at peace, in quiet and stillness and rest.  And in Him, in that realm of quiet rest, is where we dwell!

Patience - He is infinitely patient with us.  He will go over the same truths with me time after time, never tiring, until I understand them.  He won't EVER lose His temper or be pushed to the exploding point, no matter how we mess up.  He is always ready to help us, no matter how often we fail.

Kindness - He is kind and helpful.  He encourages us when we are down.  He loves to shower gifts on us and asks for nothing in return.  He gives gifts and never takes them back no matter what.  He meets all our needs and goes above and beyond to help us.  He is the perfect listener and is our support in hard times.  He is there for us before we even turn to Him.

Goodness - He does us good always and will never, NEVER harm us!  He always leaves us feeling better, not worse.  He gives good gifts, never bad ones.  He never sends pain but instead lifts our pain and bears our burdens for us!  He's got a GOOD heart!  He treats us well no matter how we seem to treat others or Him!  He's the Best Friend we've always wanted.

Faithfulness - He will always do just as He promised and will never let us down.  He won't ever leave or forsake us.  He will be a loyal friend and will never stop loving us or being there for us.  He won't reject us or let us go.  He's faithful to hold us up and not let us fall.  He will always be there to support me, defend me against the enemy's accusations, and protect my heart from evil.  He will always come through for us.

Gentleness - He's never harsh with us.  He doesn't kick us when where down.  He always says just the right thing to encourage us and help me and never to discourage us.  He never crushes our spirit, never wounds us.  Instead He gently loves and heals us.  He knows how tender and vulnerable wounded people are, and He is ever-sensitive to all our needs.

Self-Control - He won't blow His temper with us.  We'll never get on His last nerve.  He doesn't get irritated and fly off in a rage and punish us.  He is calm.  He never gets bored with us.  He never just puts up with us, never merely tolerates us.  He LIKES having us around.  His actions toward us are perfect.  He will always be exactly what we need Him to be for us at each moment.  His great heart meets our every need in super-abundance!

I love the fruit of the Spirit flowing out of me to others, and I love the fruit of the Spirit flowing to my own heart.  I think as I experience His Perfect Love toward me, I'm more able to trust Him to live out that same Perfect Love through me..  I have so much to learn and understand, but I am so thankful He is such a wonderful Lover! 

                   With love from
                                        

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quotes from Gregg Gibbons

Gregg Gibbons has a wonderful grace ministry and website.  You can take a look at it by following this link: http://christmyheart.org

Here are some wonderful quotes from some of Gregg's writings.  I wanted to share a few of them here (I especially love the last one on prayer):

"God is in control for me, and He is in love with me."

"The world tries to define me by what I do.  However, it is 'by the grace of God, I am what I am' (1 Co. 15:10a).  I am not what I am by achieving...I am who I am by receiving the grace of the Son of God!  Grace also empowers me to live out of my true identity.  'I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me' (1 Co. 15:10b)."

"I am accepted by God and I have been made acceptable to God in Christ.  I am free to grow as a child in the presence of the most Holy God...free to live and play in His presence exclaiming without fear, 'Look, Daddy, look Daddy!'  My Father's eyes are always fixed on me with glee!"

"Some say, 'God can change your life.'  The deeper truth is that God has exchanged your life for the life of His Son!  God has not patched up your old life, He has given you a new life - the life of His Son!"

"We no longer have to strive to put on hope, joy, etc. from the world.  Those clothes no longer fit.  We can now receive all of Christ's hope, joy, etc. from Christ inside us all of the time!"

"The presence of Christ in our lives is the victory, not the absence of struggles.  The light of Christ is manifested through us to others mostly in the darkness of our battles with temptations.  This is when people witness that we are real (not religious) and that we have a real hope they can have, too!"

"True prayer is our response to God's grace initiation to have communion with us."

"Some say, 'I feel like my prayers don't make it past the ceiling.'  This frustration is the result of striving to pray with self-effort.  The truth is that our true prayers never even start below the ceiling!  We are seated in heavenly places in Christ!  We are united with Christ and have all of His authority to be the conduit for praying God's will from heaven down to earth!"

                                                                 Gregg Gibbons

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Grain, the Wine, and the Oil

He makes grass grow for the cattle,
   and plants for people to cultivate—
   bringing forth food from the earth:
   wine that gladdens human hearts,
   oil to make their faces shine,
   and bread that sustains their hearts.       Ps. 104:14-15

I have been thinking on three things that are often used in the Old Testament as symbols of God's abundant provision:  the grain, the wine, and the oil.   I guess I'd never thought about it much, but they are listed in the offerings that were to be given in the Temple, and they are listed in prophetic writings as things that God would provide for the people, showing that their needs would be satisfied. 

I can see how they also seem to be symbolic of the New Covenant.  At the Last Supper, Jesus said the bread was His body, broken for us, and that the wine was the cup of the New Covenant, representing His blood shed for us.  Upon Jesus' ascension into heaven, where He sat down because He had finished the work of redemption, the Holy Spirit was poured out from heaven at Pentecost.  1 John speaks of us all having an anointing from the Holy One, here the Holy Spirit's presence in us being compared to anointing with oil.

The grain/bread represents Jesus' body broken for us.

The wine represents His blood shed for us.

The oil represents the Holy Spirit poured out on and into us.

I love how these three things summarize the work of grace that God has done in us!  Christ in His body represented all people.  He was the second Adam.  He died AS US on the cross, bringing down the old creation self, with its sinful nature controlled by the evil one, down into the grave, never to rise again!  Christ shed His blood, dying FOR US, taking away our sins on the cross so that we are completely forgiven and free of those sins, past, present, and future, free of them forever!  Our sins will never be counted against us.  Yet all this, wonderful as it is, was just a prelude, a preparation for the whole goal and purpose of the work of the cross:  that God might live IN US  and THROUGH US by His Spirit!

Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, presenting His perfect sacrifice in the temple not made with hands, in heaven itself.  The work was perfect, it was a perfect sacrifice that took away every sin and destroyed the hold of the sin nature on humanity.  The vessel of human lives could now contain God, the human temple was now be ready to be filled with the glory of God, just as His glory cloud had filled the temple in Solomon's time.   So He poured out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and now we by simple faith can receive this wonderful promised Spirit - the life of God Himself within us to regenerate us, to indwell us, to baptize or fill us with all the fullness of God Himself!  This is how we were meant to live!  To have perfect union of our spirit with God's Spirit.  To have a Friend within us so that we are never alone.  To have Someone to actually live for us and handle everything we face!   To watch as the the One who is Perfect Love loves the world through us.  We walk through this life actually imparting Jesus to people.  And we live in a perfect, unchanging, permanent fellowship with God Himself by His sweet Spirit within us!

The verse says that grain strengthens our heart - Jesus killed off our old self and old heart and gave us a new and strong heart - HIS very own heart and nature within us!  Sin shall never again be our master.  His own righteous nature is ours, a nature that naturally loves and trusts.

The verse also mentions that wine gladdens the heart - His sacrifice has made us totally forgiven, clean, perfect and righteous before Him, we have the wonderful gladness of knowing we are accepted,loved and taken into His arms forever!

The verse mentions the oil that makes our faces shine - He has given us His very own Spirit to live within us, to fill us full, to make us shine with His own glory.  We are in union with God forever.  God's own Spirit lives in us to fight for us, pray for us, love for us, live through us, and be the Friend to us that we have only ever dreamed of!

I love the New Covenant and how complete it is!  We have it all in Him!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Never Gonna Give You Up




I love to think about the words to this song's chorus and relate them to my relationship with God.  Isn't it wonderful to hear God saying within our hearts those very things -

"I'm never going to give you up.

I'm never going to let you down.

I'm never going to desert you.

I'm never going to make you cry.

I'm never going to say goodbye.

I'm never going to tell a lie and hurt you."

I love that!  We have such a faithful God who has placed us in a perfect love covenant stronger than any earthly bond of love/marraige.  It is up to Him to keep this covenant, so we know already that it is perfectly kept!  Our hope rests in His faithfulness, not ours!  "Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it!"

He won't give us up or let us go..

He will never leave or forsake us..

We are preserved and kept in Jesus..

We'll be together forever...

We can't escape this Love..

Safe in His grace..

                     With love from
                                    

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

He Wants to Reassure Us

I love how God constantly reassures us.  He always imparts hope and security to us.  His words to us are good and uplifting.

He reassures us about how steady His hands are underneath us, that He is holding us and will never let us go.  He reminds us that He has defeated our adversary.  He reminds us that He is the Strong One no matter how weak we are. He reminds us that He is the provision for all our needs.  I love how He reassures us!

"You're My servant, serving on My side.
I've picked you.  I haven't dropped you.
Don't panic.  I'm with you.
There's no need to fear for I'm your God.
I'll give you strength.  I'll help you.
I'll hold you steady; keep a firm grip on you.

"When you go out looking for your old adversaries
 you won't find them -
Not a trace of your old enemies,
 not even a memory.
That's right.  Because I, your God,
 have a firm grip on you and I'm not letting go.
I'm telling you, "Don't panic.
 I'm right here to help you."

"Do you feel like a lowly worm, Jacob?
Don't be afraid.
Feel like a fragile insect, Israel?
I'll help you.
I, God, want to reassure you.
The God who buys you back, the Holy of Israel.

"The poor and homeless are desperate for water,
 their tongues parched and no water to be found.
But I'm there to be found, I'm there for them,
 and I, God of Israel, will not leave them thirsty.
I'll open up rivers for them on the barren hills,
 spout fountains in the valleys.

"Everyone will see this.  No one can miss it -
 unavoidable, indisputable evidence
That I, God, personally did this.
 It's created and signed by the Holy of Israel."

                                                      from Isaiah 41 (MSG)

This passage has meant a lot to me lately.  In it God says that He wants to reassure me.  Not scare me, burden me, hurt me, demand of me, or berate me.  He wants to reassure me!  He wants me to feel safe and secure in His loving care.  Because I am - that's a fact!  I think His heart is always to reassure and help.  He knows we're frail and need encouragement.  He is so willing to give it.

So thankful for His reassuring words...

               With love to all from
                                       
                                       

Monday, December 6, 2010

Safe in His Arms



We're safe in Him like a child in his daddy's arms.  When a child is crying or upset, it's amazing how just being nestled in their parent's arms can calm their breathing, stop their tears, and bring them to relax, rest, and even sleep.  Jesus has the same effect.  We are in His arms and He shows us that is where we are.  And we can rest.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Stay Drinking...

So often I catch myself fighting inside over some issue I'm concerned about, when God is calling me just to look to Him and enjoy His presence.  Just being with Him there in the secret place of the heart, enjoying that union of Spirit to spirit with Him, the problems pale in comparison to His grandeur.  And I realize again that He will handle the things I face.  He will speak truth into my situation.  He will bring clarity to my mind. He will remind me of all I already have in Him - of my righteousness and acceptance in Him, of His complete victory over all darkness, of His grace toward me at all times, of His presence within to live for me.  The secret always seems to be HIM, no matter what the issue or problem!

Why have my eyes on my problems when I could be enjoying His presence and perfect peace?  Yes, why?  Jesus doesn't have any problems, and I'm in Him today.  Even the biggest problem is no real problem to the One who holds the universe, holds circumstances, holds me.  I read in a book recently by Catherine Marshall that when she was ill, she had a conversation with God and His presence was very real to her.  He never rebuked or condemned her.  He only strengthened her and encouraged her.  And He told her, concerning her troubles, "You're taking yourself far too seriously.  There's nothing here I can't handle."  I love that!

He's obviously got all that concerns us in His hands.  We can simply enjoy His Presence. We can enjoy the love that is coming to us constantly, the perfect acceptance of us at all times, the eternal goodness of God pouring out on us, the sweet presence of God, the joy and peace that He exudes.  We can just enjoy being with Him.  The Christian life is a fellowship.  It's a communion.  It's a deep relationship.  It's a perfect friendship.  It's a love story.

He is teaching me over and over again to just enjoy that fountain, that waterfall of grace and love which is really the Spirit of Grace Himself pouring onto me.  To rest and just drink in the Spirit!  To be refreshed and invigorated by His presence and grace!  To commune with Him who is Perfect Love!  All our deepest needs are met under that waterfall which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory."

Just enjoying the Spirit of Christ within us is, to me, what this Christian life is all about.  He refreshes us with Himself!  And we overflow with love, overflow with grace, overflow with HIM to this world around us...

I love this quote by Rob Rufus that sums up what I've been pondering here.  I love the idea of drinking in the Spirit rather than thinking about my problems! 

"Have you ever seen a drunk who is aware of their problems?  They drank because they had problems and now they can't remember their problems and they're happy...we're meant to stay drunk and happy and joyful in the Holy Spirit!...Instead of thinking...stay drinking in the Holy Spirit!  Do your thinking later!"              Rob Rufus

               With love to all,
                                      
                                 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Grace Works? (Part 2)

How exactly do works and behavior fit in with a life lived by grace?  Here are some more thoughts I have had about how grace shows up in our outward lives:

I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me - the life I now live I live by faith in Him.  That sums it up for me, I think - I go through my day, I freely make choices not to be irritable, I find myself loving others, I find myself drawn to listen to Him, I serve my kids and clean up their messes, yet it is not I but Christ doing those things.  It looks like me thinking, desiring, deciding, doing, following Paul's instructions on action, and yet it's Him in me.  I simply believe He's there and is living in me.  I simply believe the gospel, that I am now in union with Christ and He is my very life and righteousness, living His life in me.  He does the doing but it looks just like it's me.  Weirdly cool.  It's like watching Him work...
The best days are when I am not focused on what I'm supposed to do or not do but instead caught up in Him, just thinking about how He loves me, just being glad that I'm accepted, just realizing He's smiling at me...and the actions part just seems to flow so much better, yet I'm not thinking of it.  To me, that is eating from the tree of life, not the other tree.  To me, it feels like being in love.  When you're in love, you're caught up in your love and you are nice to the world without even thinking about it.   "He has made us welcome in the everlasting love He bears toward the Beloved." (Eph. 1:6 Phillips) and "Now, through the blood of Christ, you who were once outside the pale are with us inside the circle of God's love in Christ Jesus." (Eph, 2:13 Phillips)  I like that idea of being inside the Holy Love Circle!  Included in that love!   Being included in that love is the best thing in the universe, it's what we were made for!  Everything else flows out of that!  That relationship is the focus, not works (which are just the result of that relationship).

I have tended to focus on behavior change and improvement, always measuring myself and comparing myself to others or making sure I'm really "getting better."  I thought if I didn't, God would be disappointed in me.  After all, wasn't that the point of the Christian life - good works?  I think I see it so differently now.  God has drawn us up into His works, and He worked through Christ to make us new and loved us when we couldn't love Him.  Now He is working to spread the good news of what He did and to love others even through me.  He does it, not me.  The main point of the Christian life for me, then, is just receiving and resting in His love.    It's neat to watch God love others through us, but we don't have to be ashamed to just sit and receive His love.  That's not selfish, it's actually the better part that Mary discovered so long ago.  God will take care of the works He wants to do while we rest in Him. 


Grace does show up in our outward lives.  But that's not the main thing about grace.  The main thing about grace is that it ushers us into a love relationship with God that will never fail.  May we all enjoy that unconditional love named Jesus today!

                    With love,
                                     

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grace Works? (Part 1)

I know some people worry that those who believe in grace don't think works matter.  So what place do works have in the life of grace?  Do "grace people" care at all about seeing Christ's life show up in their outer lives?  Don't the letters of Paul contain commands of things to do or focus sometimes on works?  These are questions that have come to me at times.  Here are my humble thoughts on these questions..

Works do matter and He will bring them out- He will actually do them in and through us so they can safely be called His works in us!  We can relax.  Doesn't mean we are lax.  We strive/labor, but it's not us but the grace of God in us (1 Co. 15:10).  It's not that we don't care or will go sinning all over the place.  It means we do care because we have a new heart that longs to do right - "we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him", we just realize we can't do that on our own strength and trust Him to bring it about.  We have His seed in us and it will come forth.  That's the law of life.  The promise:  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My ways (Ez. 36:27).

What about the two commands in 1 John - to believe in Christ and love one another?  (Some see this as one command and a result - we believe and that naturally brings forth His love.  We believers have already believed into Christ, who is Love; Love dwells in us and loves through us.)  I think that is the law written on our hearts at salvation.  It's our nature to believe and love.  They are already fulfilled in our hearts and God brings that out in our lives.  That is why the verse in 1 John says "we keep His commands and always do those things that are pleasing to Him."  It's amazing to think we have Christ's very nature within us!  And that nature will shine forth.  Christ is our life and lives the Christian life in us.  Our job isn't to live but to trust (and we even trust by His faith!). 



What about Paul's instructions in his letters?  Paul does talk about actions quite a bit in the second half of his letters, and to me it's building on the first half where he reminds them of who they are in Christ/what Christ has done for them.  Hey, you're new creations!  So why not live that out, just being yourself?  Be who you are, you in Christ, for example.  You are dearly loved, you are children of light, so walk in love, walk in the light. Light and love are what are really in you, so just let that come out, Him loving and being holy in you.  I think Paul's admonitions can always be read in light of what Christ has already made us - new and accepted and righteous people.  He seems to say look what Christ did in making you new!  You're holy and righteous!  Why not live that way, because it's what you really want to do.  Always doing it in His strength, understanding it's Him living through us..Col 3 is a good example of this for me.

Steve McVey says that whenever he reads a command in the New Testament, he sees that as a way Christ is going to live out His life through him.  I like that.  We can see the commands as what Christ is going to look like living through us, and we can trust Him to live through us just like that, working and willing through us to make it happen.

More thoughts to come in Part 2...

                        With love from


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fruit Check


You (or I) may say, "Hey, I don't always see the good that's inside me (new creation) come out" -  you know who you are in Him but then go out and live like you belong to the world.  Well, me too, and that is one of my biggest frustrations.  And we know we'll never be perfect in behavior this side of heaven.  But it's not up to us to make the fruit come out, it's up to Him.  He's doing it for sure along His own timetable.  

The more I focus on what I'm doing wrong and trying to change/improve, the worse it gets.  Also, if there is any way I'm condemning myself for not being better, that only makes it worse, also.  The only thing that ever helped me actually live righteously was to stop focusing on that and just feed on grace remember He loves me, He's already made me righteous, He's living in me and taking care of my concerns.    And I do believe it's really all His work, a work of grace He does to bring us to feed on grace, believe the truth..

Fruit matters but it seems if we focus on or look for the fruit, things don't work out right!  Yet with our focus on Him, all flows more smoothly.  I used to have a saying in my kitchen:  Focus on Jesus, not what you think you should be doing for Him. 
 
HE 's the one who produces the fruit, we only bear it. HE'S the one who renews and transforms, we only look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  What is our job?  Rest in Christ.  He will work in and through us and His life will come out and the world will be attracted to its beauty!  What's the job of the mother bird on the nest of eggs?  Rest.  Those eggs will hatch for sure, she need do nothing but rest.  The law of life will take effect. We have His seed and it will bring forth fruit by the same type of law - for us the law of the Spirit will work in us.  The Promise:  I will put My Spirit in you and cause you to walk in My ways - Ez. 36:27  He will do it.  

So we don't go around doing fruit checks or searching our branchlets for any sign of fruit growing.  We just enjoy the life of the vine.  The Life flowing in us will naturally produce all the fruit He wishes in His own perfect time and way.  The pressure is off of us to "produce fruit" for God.  We can relax in the vine.. 



                 With love from

                           

Monday, November 29, 2010

Held

He's holding on to us and won't let us go.

He says, "I'll neither leave you nor let you go"  (Heb. 13:5b).  He also says "I will uphold you with My righteous right hand"  (Is. 41:10b).  Thus, we don't have to worry about holding on to Him.  He's holding on to us.  If we're confused, He'll bring us to see truth.  If we slip, He'll bring us back up and get us going again.

We don't have to worry about keeping ourselves from sin or stopping sinning as if it's all up to us to do that - that's His job.  We don't even have to think it's all up to us even to have faith in order to keep things going right - HE is faithful in us and is always with us to bring things to work out rightly. 

There is something underneath us that holds us up - underneath are the everlasting arms of Christ!  The Life of Christ upholds us!  He is self-sustaining, self-maintaining Life.  We're IN that Life and it's IN us.  Thus we're sustained by that Life.

And the Life is a Presence - it's the beautiful Holy Spirit in us, the very Spirit of Christ!  We're held by a PERSON!  A PERSON is fighting for us, keeping us, protecting us, embracing us, and carrying us in His arms.  That's because underneath it all, underneath our failures and successes, our work and our giving up, our faith and our doubt - is grace.  The Spirit carries us, God's born-again children, no matter what.

At every turn we can count on the Spirit within us to "cause us to walk in His ways" (Ez. 36:27).  Thus in every way we are kept by Him (Jude 1)!  For He is our Keeper.  He is the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Pet. 2:25).  We don't have to keep ourselves believing, doing, or overcoming.  He'll do it.  And He'll keep doing it.  He who began a good work in us will complete it (Phil. 1:6).

He IS working.  He IS faithful.  He IS keeping us.  He IS holding on to us.

We can respond to these facts with thankfulness and relief, relaxing confidently because of God's work.  The Christian life is a life of rest, not of striving.  We can be at rest because we don't have to hold on.  He is holding on to us and won't let go.

Kept.  Held.  Safe.  Forever.  Grace!

                    With love to all,
                                       

Saturday, November 27, 2010

When You Don't Feel Victorious and Happy

I read over my last post and the question came to mind, what if someone reading that doesn't feel all happy and bubbly right now?  What if they don't sense that presence of God in their lives at this moment?  What if they are in despair, thinking nothing will ever turn out right for them?

So I want to add here that I am not saying, with my words about being led in joy and victory, that we will never feel bad or have troubles.  I have lived through years of pain, sorrow and troubles myself and thought I would never escape that darkness.  I felt alone and afraid and confused.  I condemned myself for being a terrible Christian.  I felt prayer didn't work and that God wasn't ever going to really "do" anything in my situation.  I felt I would be in that state of despairing for the rest of my life.

But God brought me to feel the sunshine again.  He gave me hope and joy, not as a result of my efforts, but as a grace gift.  My problems didn't go away, but they shrunk in proportion to the bigness of my God.  I saw I had never been alone, never been condemned.  In the Spirit, there is just me and Him in union, and everything is okay in that place.  Nothing can touch that union.  Nothing can touch the perfect way He sees me.  Nothing can affect our relationship.

So all that showed me that things aren't hopeless.  Satan isn't winning.  And it isn't all up to me to be some victorious Christian with my amazing faith or acts.  No, the truth is that it's all up to God to work, and that He IS working!  That was big to me, to see that He IS working in my life!  HE can lift us out of despair, HE is our way out of self-condemnation, He is our hope.

There is hope again in my life.  There is the possibility and even the reality of joy and peace and dancing and exuberance, things I thought I would never truly experience again!  I can embrace life again!  Life is worth living, because He is in it.  I am NEVER alone in facing any problem.  HE is there to fight the fear, the anxiety, the despair, the loneliness, the anguish.  He is there in every situation to bring me through.

So I don't want to minimize anyone's pain.  I think grace frees us to be honest about how we feel, honest about how things don't always seem to go well for us, honest about how sometimes we don't feel He is there.  He's shown me that it's okay to be real like that with Him.  But I think God has also shown me that there is hope.  I don't have to assume that despair will control me.  Nor do I have to try to fix all my problems.  He is responsible for our life now.  We're in His hands.  And He is doing something good!

I have felt abandoned and then found I was embraced all along.  I have felt that things could never change and then watched as He transformed them.  He hasn't left us but is really here, actively working for our good.  He has shown me how faithful He is.  Doesn't matter if we are a mess, since it is all up to Him anyway!  He always has it together, and we have it all together in Him today!

                  With love from
                                    

Friday, November 26, 2010

His Glorious Presence

Here are some thoughts I had recently on His wonderful presence in us:

We are right with Him always, because of Jesus' perfect work for us.  That's why we can enjoy His presence freely every day.  There is nothing between us nor can there ever be.  It's just us and Him within!  He never goes!  Nothing changes that!  Sin can't, our confusion can't, the enemy can't:  we're always in right and perfect union with Him through Jesus' finished work.  Nothing can hamper our fellowship.  Face to face with Him in our spirit - that's our permanent reality now!

The Spirit comes into us, and He comes in to stay.  For God's presence in our lives through the Spirit is a permanent, irrevocable, eternal gift!   He will always be there.  He Himself has said, "I will never leave you or forsake you."  (Heb. 13:5)

In His presence, things just change!  Darkness flees, lies are dispelled, hope blooms, joy awakens, light shines...Just because He's there!  We don't have to do anything.  It's not dependent on our paltry efforts. It's all a gift.  Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!

With Him in us and on our side, how can we lose?  "I've got the Father on my side, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and 2/3 of the angels...What do you think I'm going to do?  Sit down and cry?"  (Leonard Ravenhill)  With Him in us, for us, as us, we are going to get up and dance!  We are going to take flight and soar!  We are going to be home free eternally!  We are going to laugh at the enemy!  We are going be led in triumph always!  (2 Co. 2:14)

In Your Presence, O Lord:

  • we find glory (Your good opinion of us) and honor, strength to get through anything, and gladness (1 Chr. 16:27)
  • there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16:11)
  • we are protected from our enemies and their accusations (Ps. 31:20)
  • we find deliverance in affliction (Is. 63:9)
  • is where we, the righteous, dwell (Ps. 140:13)
  • is true liberty and expansive freedom (2 Co. 3:18)
  • we find true rest (Ex. 33:14)
  • is the place we can't get out of, the place where we always are, no matter what!  (Ps. 139:17)
Thank You, Lord, that we are always in Your presence and that Your presence is always with and IN us!  Never alone, we are never alone.  Our Friend is here.  Praise You, Lord, for Your presence!


                            With love from
                                              

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Absolutes in God's Word

One day I began thinking of all the absolutes in scripture.  You know, the scripture promises with words like ALWAYS, NEVER, WHOEVER, etc.  These are the kinds of words that eliminate doubt for me and bring peace, because they are absolute.  The more such scriptures I thought of, the more uplifted I felt!  Here are some absolute statements in the Word that comfort and encourage me:

He Himself has said, "I will NEVER leave you or forsake you." (Heb. 13:5)  No matter what we do or don't do, no matter what our lapse in faith, He has promised He is here to stay and will NEVER leave us!

And I give them ETERNAL life, and they shall NEVER perish; neither shall ANYONE snatch them out of My hand. (Jn. 10:28)  NOONE and NOTHING is going to take us from His hand!  We are safe and secure forever.

Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will NEVER thirst.(Jn. 4:14)  He has already satisfied our thirst and thus we already have all we need in Him.  We will never be thirsty or needy again!

WHOEVER believes in Him WILL NOT be put to shame. (Rom. 10:13)  We'll never be ashamed!  We can hold our heads up high because of His great salvation.  All shame, guilt and sin is gone forever!

God..ALWAYS leads us in triumph in Christ. (2 Co. 2:14)  No matter what, He is carrying us through in victory, not by our doing but by Christ's doing!  We live in the victory of Christ that has already been won for us!  All will work out for good!

WHOEVER joins himself to the Lord IS one spirit with Him. (1 Co. 6:17)  There is never any separation between us and Him!  Nothing will ever come between us because we are one spirit with Him, and you can't get any closer than that.  We are in an indissoluble union and enjoy perfect intimate fellowship forever!

By one offering He HAS perfected FOREVER those who are sanctified. (Heb. 10:14)   We stand perfect forevermore because of His once-for-all, perfect sacrifice!  No more feeling we need to do something to make up for our sins or get back on God's good side.  We are perfect forever and right with Him for always.  Sin has been dealt with in finality!

And their sins and their iniquities I will remember NO MORE. (Jer. 34b)  We need never feel shamed or guilted by something God has promised never to remember - our sin.  He will never bring up our sin to us!  He thinks of us with favor and acceptance, thinks of us as perfectly righteous. 

Sin SHALL NOT be your master, for you are NOT under law but under grace. (Rom. 6:14)  We're free from law and thus sin will not be master of us.  Sin shall not control us!  Sin shall not be in power over us!  Sin never will have power to bring us into condemnation, guilt or punishment! 

I have given you authority...over ALL the power of the enemy, and NOTHING shall harm you. (Lk. 10:19)  We have authority over all the enemy's power.  That means he has no power left that could conquer us at all.  We stand in victory in Christ already!

NO weapon formed against you shall prosper. (Is. 54:17a)  We are safe in God's arms.  Every weapon coming against us He will turn back and bring us out into victory!

EVERYONE who is born of God overcomes the world. (1 Jn. 5:4)  We are already overcomers, already victorious.  We are world conquerors. We stand in Christ's victory forever!

NOTHING can ever separate us from God's love. (Rom. 8:38-9)  No matter what we say, do, think, or feel, we will never be apart from His love.  His love for us is totally without condition.  We can't get away from this love!

The evil one CANNOT touch us. (1 Jn. 5:18b)  We are so safe in His hand that the evil one can't even touch us!  Secure forever!  We need never be afraid of the evil one again.

He who began a good work in you WILL be faithful to complete it in the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6)  He ensures and promises that we will arrive safely at our destination (after all, our spirits are already there, seated with Christ in the heavenly places). 

WHOEVER desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Rev.22:17)  Whoever wants Him may come and receive.  Noone will be denied.  God's love and grace and salvation are free of charge to all who wish to receive!  We can know without a shadow of a doubt that the water of life is for us all, whoever we are.

The absolute nature of these promises is so reassuring.  To me, that is a big part of grace - it is sure and settled and absolute that we are loved, accepted, and kept by God.  No matter what, absolutely!

                     With love,
                                     

Monday, November 22, 2010

Love Came Down


When I call on Your name, You answer
When I fall, You are there by my side
You delivered me out of darkness
Now I stand in the hope of new life 

By grace I'm free, You've rescued me
All I am is Yours

I've found a love greater than life itself
I've found a hope stronger and nothing compares
I once was lost, now I'm alive in You
 
You're my God and my firm foundation
It is You whom I'll trust at all times
I give glory and praise, adoration
To my Saviour who's seated on high

Love came down and rescued me
I thank You, I thank You
I once was blind, but now I see
I see You, I see You 
                         Ben Cantelon    

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Favorite Quotes from Mike Yaconelli

One of my favorite grace writers is Mike Yaconelli.  He authored two books I really enjoyed:  Messy Spirituality and Dangerous Wonder.   He is a great storyteller and also a person who understands that grace is what moves our hearts, not law.  Here are some of my favorite quotes from his books:

"Jesus whispers in a crystal clear voice, 'I love you!'...'I have loved you all along.  All this time, I loved you first.'

"We may turn our backs on God, but God is always facing us.

"God is not lost when we are.  God is waiting for us even in the dark...He joins us in the darkness.

"He finds a way to show us hope in the midst of despair.  His love and care find us.

"We are loved to our senses...We expect criticism, what we receive is understanding.  We don't hear words of condemnation, we hear over and over, 'I love you.'

"Our grace card is not going to be cancelled.  His grace is unlimited.

"God says, 'I love you...questions and all...with an unconditional, no-strings attached love."

                                                            Mike Yaconelli

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How He Has Changed My Perspective

I used to try to lug around Jesus.
Now I see He carries me.

I used to try to get myself closer to Him or seek to keep Him close.
Now I see He is with me, never to leave.

I used to try to maintain my Christian life and my faith.
Now I see He maintains all in me.

I used to try to keep myself from falling.
Now I see He keeps me.

I used to think this life was all up to me.
Now I see it's all up to Him.

I used to feel so alone in my problems.
Now I see He's with me to handle all my problems.

I used to try so hard to pry my eyes off the storm and onto Jesus.
Now I see He by grace pulls my gaze to Him.

I used to try so hard to get over all my struggles.
Now I see He HAS overcome for me and will manifest that victory.

I used to try to do it all.
Now I see I can trust Him to do it all.

I used to try to walk on the water by myself, all alone.
Now He holds my hand and we walk over the waves together!

                           With love,
                                         
                            

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Favorite Quotes from Steve McVey

On Forgiveness:

"Before we were born, God saw our lives and identified every sin that we would commit.  Jesus carried all those sins to the cross with Him and God canceled the debt.  Every sin of our lifetime has been forgiven...

"The real God is a forgiving God who never becomes angry with those who are His.  The empty tomb put a smile on the face of God  - a smile that has never gone away."

On Grace:

"Grace accepts people on the basis of unconditional love..grace accepts and loves others regardless of their actions.  It doesn't set out to change what people DO.  It looks beyond what people do and affirms them for who they ARE, encouraging them...

"Grace never heaps guilt, shame or condemnation on people.  Grace heaps unconditional love on people.  Grace accepts us just as we are!"

On the Purpose of Eternal Life:

"Jesus didn't give us eternal life so that we would know what to DO;  He gave us eternal life so that we could know HIM by sharing His life."

                                                                        Steve McVey

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Safe in His Grace

If nothing can change His love for us, if His grace is with us accepting us AS WE ARE...

If He accepts us even when we're broken and messed up and failing...

Then we're safe and secure - because nothing can take us out of Him.

He just goes on loving and carrying us anyway, no matter what.

He accepts us at our lowest point, and if He accepts us then, He accepts us always.

He'll never reject us.  We're safe in His arms forever!

                       With love,
                                      

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Real You

"You are a righteous person..

When He looks at you,

He sees the nature of His Son...

He sees you rightesous.

He sees you redeemed.

He sees you justified.

He sees you perfect.

He sees you complete.

This is the real you.

The real you is a new creation:

Righteous, holy, blameless, acceptable, beloved."

                                                                  Dan Stone

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Autumn Thoughts

                                        Autumn Day

Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
And on the meadows let the wind go free.

Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
Grant them a few more warm transparent days,
Urge them on to fulfillment then, and press
The final sweetness into the heavy wine.

                  Rainer Maria Rilke (trans. by Stephen Mitchell)

Just as surely as He makes the seeds to sprout and plants to grow, He will bring the autumn fruit.  And just as surely as He has born a new life in us by His imperishable seed, so will He bring it to fruition.  For He is faithful to complete the work He began in us.  Faithful to manifest the fruit of the finished work of Christ.  Faithful to reveal us as the complete-in-Christ people that we are.

Out of the deadness of Winter comes the fresh new life of Spring, the lovely green growth of Summer and always the mature fruits of Autumn.  Spring always turns to Summer and Summer to Autumn, it just always does!  One naturally follows the other.  And with our spiritual lives, one thing super-naturally follows the other!

The grapes that have grown all spring and summer on the vine will surely ripen and produce their juice.  In the same way, the life-giving new wine of the Spirit will surely invigorate us and flow out to all around!   That's the super-natural outcome of the Life within us, which is Christ Himself!

He has put His life in us - won't that Life bear fruit?  Yes, it surely will.  Won't our lives reach the fulfillment of the purposes He has lovingly planned for us?  Yes, they surely will.  Won't He work all together for good for us?  Yes, He surely will.  Won't we one day appear with Him in glory?  Yes, we surely will!

                        With love,

Monday, November 8, 2010

What If...



Here is a great song my cool music-wise husband found.  He thought it would be a good "grace song" to put up on my blog, and I totally agree.

It's a wonderful thing to know that nothing we do either adds to or takes away from His love for us!  His love for us just IS, no matter what our performance, because it is based on HIM and not us!  How safe and secure we are in that love, then!  Thank You, Lord!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Our Birthright as His Children

I was thinking about the idea of a Christian's birthright.  We are His children and as His children, we have certain rights and privileges.  These are our birthright and we have a legitimate claim to these rights.  We didn't have to deserve these rights to receive them, Christ earned them for us and we received them all upon our new birth, by grace through faith, into God's family.

So here are some of the things I thought of that are part of our birthright as His children:

  • We have the right to call God our Father, or Daddy, and we have the right to be called sons of God.
  • We have the right to access our Father at any time to ask Him for anything we need or discuss anything on our mind.
  • We have a right to the inheritance, and the Spirit has been given to us as a down payment and guarantee of that inheritance.  And this inheritance starts right now for us; eternal life starts now!
  • We have, thus, a right to resurrection from the dead, since that is part of our inheritance.
  • We have the right to stay in God's house forever.
  • We have the right to be loved, cared for, and never rejected, no matter what we do or don't do, because we have been put in God's family by new birth when we were born of the Spirit.
  • We have the right to say we are born of God.
  • We have the right to claim all the promises of God.
  • We have the right to claim all the victory of Christ.
  • We have the right to stand under the authority of Christ.
  • We have the right to live free of guilt, condemnation and bondage.
  • We have the right to live free from the demands of the law and to enjoy the work of the Spirit in us.
  • We have the right to enjoy constant, perfect communion with God at all times.
  • We have the right to laugh at the devil and his lies.
  • We have the right to have God always with us, fighting on our side for us, so we never face any problem alone again.
  • We have the right to rest, knowing Christ is doing the living through us.
  • We have the right to enjoy peace with God at all times, since Christ finished the work to make us right with Him.
  • We have the right to boldly declare that we are the righteousness of God in Christ and to assume that our desires are righteous.
  • We have the right to live free from fear.
  • We have the right to know we are loved and accepted and completely right with God, even after a terrible failure.
  • We have the right to know God hears and answers our prayers.
  • We have the right to enter heaven, for we are already seated there with Christ.
  • We have the right to every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus; every spiritual blessing is ours in Christ right now.
  • We have the right to have all our needs met according to His riches in glory.
  • We have the right to know that God will work everything for good for us.
  • We have the right to feel completely secure in God's arms.
  • We have the right to the Father's lap.
  • We have the right to be the Beloved of God!
It's so wonderful to know what our rights are as His children!  And these rights are not something we have to deserve - they're ours all because of the wonderful finished work of Christ and because of His marvelous grace!

                             With love,
                                             

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our Best Friend

I've found a Friend who is all to me,
His love is ever true;
I love to tell how He lifted me
And what His grace can do for you.
                                             Jack Scholfield

I remember this old hymn from my childhood, and it says exactly how I feel.  We have this wonderful Best Friend who loves us like we've always dreamed of being loved.  What a grace gift - the gift of God's own Spirit to dwell inside us, to be the heart of our heart, to be one with us, to be in perfect relationship with us!  We've been given a Best Friend always within..

Present, never leaving us alone, always available..

Supporting, always having an uplifting word for us, always helping us..

Never holding a grudge, never offended, humble, gentle..

Perfect, always acting in grace, always on our side..

Strengthening and empowering us, always building us up..

Sympathizing, listening, encouraging, always caring about our needs..

Always speaking truth to us when we're confused..

Joyful, bubbling over, ever happy with us, delighting in us..

Calming and comforting, peaceful, a shelter in the storm..

Fighting for us, standing up for us against the enemy..

Accepting us no matter what, freeing us to grow and thrive and bloom..

Safe to open up to, not put off by our problems or doubts..

Kind, beautiful, sweet, wonderful, loyal to us, faithful and true..

Loving without any conditions or expectations..

The Spirit of Christ dwelling within us is the Best Friend we could ever have!

                      With love to all,
                                      
                                           

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Old Covenant vs. New Covenant

Awhile back, I studied Hebrews 7-10 to look at the differences between the Old Covenant (Law that required our effort) and the New Covenant (Grace that came through Jesus' effort).  Here are some things that I found:

The Old Covenant (OC) had faults.
The New Covenant (NC) is faultless!

The OC was annulled because of its weakness.
The NC was put in place because it works!

The OC is obsolete and ready to vanish away.
The NC is new and effective, better, and lasting.

The OC was a shadow of good things to come.
The NC is the substance, the actual good thing!

In the OC, the priests were set up according to the law of a fleshly commandment.
In the NC, Christ our High Priest is set up according to the power of an endless Life.

In the OC, the priests ministered on earth temporarily.
In the NC, Christ is in the presence of God interceding for us forevermore!

The OC sanctifies only the outer.
The NC sanctifies within.

The OC's many sacrifices couldn't remove sin.
The NC's one sacrifice (of Christ) put away sin!

The OC had to have continual sacrifices, yet people still had sin-consciousness.
The NC has one sacrifice, and that sacrifice of Christ purified us once for all, so we have no more consciousness of sins!

The OC sacrifices were a constant reminder of sins.
The NC is that our sins and lawless deeds He will remember no more!

The OC made noone perfect.
The NC made us perfect forever through His work!

In the OC, the way to the Holiest of All was not made manifest.
In the NC, we are brought into the Holiest of All through the veil of His flesh!

In the OC, only the High Priest dared approach God.
In the NC, we can approach God with boldness to find grace to help in time of need!

What a wonderful covenant the New Covenant is!  It is permanent and built on better promises, a Perfect High Priest, and a Perfect Sacrifice for sin!  It ushers us into the very presence of God, where we stand accepted and welcomed and embraced forever!  That's the New Covenant of Grace...

                        With love to all,
                                              

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Old Life, The New Life

The old life was in Adam.
The new life is in Christ.

The old life was transitory.
The new life is permanent.

The old life was not lasting and was doomed to end.
The new life is everlasting and will never end.

The old life was bound by the law of sin and death.
The new life is bound by the law of the Spirit, the law of life in Christ!

The old life was limited and finite.
The new life is limitless and infinite.

The old life was from man's seed and man's will.
The new life is from God's seed and God's will.

The old life was of earth, earthy.
The new life is of heaven, heavenly.

The old life was a decaying life.
The new life is constantly fresh and new.

The old life couldn't be maintained.
The new life is self-sustaining.

The old life could be lost or put out.
The new life is never lost and can't be ended.

The old life was under death's power.
The new life is free from death's power.

The old life was weak.
The new life is strong.

The old life was destructible.
The new life is indestructible.

The old life was corrupted.
The new life is incorruptible.

The old life fades away.
The new life is unchanging.

The old life was human life.
The new life is God's life!

The old life was me alone.
The new life is Christ in me!

"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."  Col. 3:4

                      With love from
                                         
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