Thursday, May 31, 2012

Aaron Shust - "My Hope is in You, Lord"

This song keeps coming to my mind lately..

It is by Aaron Shust, "My Hope is in You."

I just love how it is all about relationship, not about us and our performance, but just living in a love relationship with Jesus that is based all on His work, not ours!

He has brought us into a relationship with the Father that is absolutely perfect and cannot ever be changed or shaken, because it is based on Christ's unshakable performance and perfection!  So we are safely in the refuge of the Father's arms, in Christ, in the Spirit, wrapped in love and safety and joy no matter what.

Our hope is completely in Him, not ourselves, and because it's all based on Him, we have this unfailing and untouchable safe home and haven, being put in His presence for always.

We are given Christ's righteousness, which just means right relationship with the Father, given that forever and ever!  What a solid rock is underneath us, what strong everlasting arms hold us, what mighty Spirit wings uplift and carry us and make us to soar!

And in this safe place we get to enjoy the relationship that is the whole purpose of salvation anyway, the intimate union relationship, personal and real, with the God of All!  He saved us to be kind to us forever.  ("Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus." Eph. 2:7 Message Bible)  I love that!  This was the purpose of Jesus coming, of our being saved and regenerated - so the Spirit of God could dwell within us, bonded to our spirit as one forever, to have perfect fellowship and loving intimate friendship with us, to enjoy a love relationship with us forever!

And the way He has set it up, based on Christ's work and on grace, it is an unchangeable relationship.  The bond between us is eternal and made of God's own Resurrection Life in us by His Spirit, and we are with Him and in right and loving union relationship with Him forever.  Wow!

In Christ, by grace, we just can't lose for winning, as Brennan Manning says!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

God Isn't, God Is..

God isn't trying to put burdens on us...

God is there to take off our burdens!

God isn't demanding anything of us before He will bless us..

God is inviting us to see that He has already blessed us for free in Jesus!

God isn't inflicting pain or hardship or sickness or calamity on us..

God is there to heal our wounds, restore our lives and relieve our hurts!

God isn't destroying our dreams..

God is giving us our dreams come true and giving us HIS dreams for us, too!

God isn't bringing sadness and trouble on us..

God is giving us joy and lifting us up in victory over trouble!

God isn't angry with us or disappointed in us..

God is forever delighting in us and pleased with us through Jesus!

God isn't withholding blessing, wisdom, revelation, or anointing..

God is lavishing blessing, wisdom, peace and joy and His presence on us!

God isn't removing Himself from us when we fail to do or believe right..

God is always close - He is IN us! - and has committed to NEVER leave us..

God isn't hard - hearted and looking for a way to punish..

God is soft- hearted and looking for a way to heal, restore and help!

God is never bad and never plans bad things or does bad things to us..

God is always good and always plans good and does good things for us!

God isn't uncaringly moving us around like pawns on a chessboard..

God is tenderly embracing us as little children, holding us close to His heart!

God isn't putting curses on us..

God is the One who lifted the curses off of us in Jesus!

God isn't hiding Himself from us..

God is revealing Himself to us in Christ and by the Spirit!

God isn't forgetful of us..

God remembers us always and we're always in His thoughts!

God is good, God is love, God is grace!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thoughts and Ideas Seen, Heard, Read..God IS Grace!

Just wanted to share some things I read and heard recently that encouraged me in His grace towards us..He is so good and He is 100% Grace, isn't He?

"He’s a Person, not a machine. He longs for fellowship. He loves to love."  Bill Johnson

I love this because it reminds me Christianity isn't a doctrine or a 'blessing machine' where we put in enough faith or works to get out the treat..NO!  Far better, it's a real relationship with the Creator of this Universe Who has chosen to dwell within us by His Spirit and actually LOVES to love on us and interact with us!  I have felt so alone in my life at times, but now I have a wonderful Best Friend INSIDE me who won't ever leave, who always is ready to help and encourage and lift me up.  And all the blessings pour forth from Him as a bonus!

"He isn't trying to take something from us but instead is trying to give something to us."  Beth Moore

This idea is so wonderful - God is a giver, not a taker!  I think in the past I always saw Him as demanding from me, expecting things of me, putting pressure on me to do more, be more, give more, surrender more.  But that wasn't the real truth or the real God at all!  God is love and love gives!  Love lavishes affection and gifts and delights in doing so.  God, who invented love and is Love in a Person, isn't rude or harsh.  He isn't demanding and pressuring and pushy.  He isn't asking things of me but lavishing blessings on me, and most of all, lavishing Himself - He gives HIMSELF!..

"In my selfishness, You show me grace."   Aaron Shust

I heard this quote in the lyrics of a song on the radio, and it came at the perfect time!  We don't have to act right, think right, even believe right to be loved and accepted and helped..He loves and blesses for free!  He is always delighted with us, whether we are 'doing great spiritually' or flat on our face in the dust!  He knows we're dust anyway, so there aren't any expectations on us.  All expectations were put on the Son and He fulfilled them perfectly, and we are given everything for free, by grace, based on His work, not our own.  Based on His perfection, not our own!  So we can fail and still be graced and blessed and loved and accepted..

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Photos from Our Recent Trip to the Mountains

Here are some pictures from a recent family trip to the mountains.  It was beautiful and cool.  We had gorgeous days and enjoyed some hikes through the woods and around a lake.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Thank You, Lord, for Grace...

The New Covenant of grace means we are blessed, forgiven, accepted, included, provided for, protected, loved, cherished, kept secure, and favored FOR FREE!

I just want to thank Him for His precious and marvelous love and grace:

Thank You, Lord, for the wonderful work You did to bring all the blessings of the New Covenant to us.
Thank You that You smile as You give us those gifts, that You delight in giving to us!
Thank You that everything in the New Covenant is for free!  Thank You for unmerited favor, which means favor I didn't have to earn or "be worthy" of.
Thank You for loving and favoring those of us who feel so unworthy, who feel our lives are ruined and hopeless, who feel so burned out and like we can't do anything right.
Thank You for reaching into our darkness and shining the light of Your beautiful face upon us!
Thank You for Your presence with us, that melts away the dark clouds of oppression and sends all the demons of hell fleeing in panic!
Thank You for fighting for us against the darkness and winning!
Thank You that we stand in Your freedom, victory, faith, hope, joy and peace today!
Thank You for being a wonderful and beautiful Savior who is with us always by Your Spirit.
Thank You that You will never leave us, no matter what we do or fail to do, and no matter how weak our faith may seem.
Thank You that we stand on Your performance and even live by Your faith and by Your very life and nature pulsing within us.
Thank You that You carried us on eagles' wings and took us into Your bosom.  Thank You for holding us - and holding on to us, not letting go - forever!
Thank You that You are the Friend we have been looking for all our lives, the Lover who truly understands us and loves us without condition, without any strings attached.
Thank You that You are 100% good 100% of the time, and we never have to be afraid again, because we are under new management, in the Your kingdom where LOVE reigns over us, protects us, and seeks only to do us good and give us a good future, always and forever.
We love You, O Lord, our strength and our song!
In Jesus' name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Everything is Based on HIS Goodness and HIS Faithfulness

I love that the New Covenant and all its blessings are based on His goodness and faithfulness and not my own!  If it is based on Him, it is done, secure, perfect, and sure!

Joseph Prince puts it like this:

The good news for you and me is this:  Today, we are under the New Covenant of grace (unmerited favor), and God's unmerited favor is upon us.  His blessings and His provisions for us are based entirely on HIS GOODNESS and HIS FAITHFULNESS.  Hallelujah!..

Therefore, in spite of our sins, God delivers us and provides for us supernaturally, not based on our goodness and faithfulness, but based on His goodness and faithfulness.  How cool is that?

                                                                                    Joseph Prince

That's pretty cool!  Oh, how wonderful is the grace of God!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

More Great Quotes from Joseph Prince

Here are even more great quotes from Joseph Prince's book, Unmerited Favor.  I am loving this book!  What freedom and release there is in the gospel of grace, the news of His unmerited favor!  No wonder it is called the GOOD news!

And now for the quotes:

Christianity is actually an intimate relationship with a loving God.

To the same extent that God is satisfied with Jesus, He is satisfied with you.  

The question to ask today is no longer if you are righteous or holy in God's eyes.  The questions to ask are, "Is Christ righteous in God's eyes?" and "Is Christ holy in God's eyes?"  When you are in Christ, as Christ is, so are you!  Is Christ healthy, full of favor and well-pleasing to God today?  Then, so are you!  [Wow, we can go ahead and declare it:  We are righteous!  We are holy!  He made us that way by putting us in Christ, and AS HE IS, SO ARE WE!]

All the blessing of the righteous that are recorded in God's Word are yours today.

In the New Covenant of grace, God is effectively saying, "I want you to believe you are forgiven.  I want you to believe that you are a person enjoying My mercy.  I want you to believe that I remember your sins no more." 

He cares for you.

No matter where you are, the Lord is with you.  Even in the midst of your fears, while you are alone in your room, He is there with you.  The moment you being to be aware of His presence and cultivate His presence, all you fears, anxieties and worries will melt like butter on a hot day, or as the psalmist David puts its, "The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord.."

My friend, you are in Christ.  Christ has made you righteous.  As He is righteous, so are you.  Based on God's Word, that means that you can pray and have a confident expectation that your prayers will avail much!  God will hear and answer your prayers.  The Bible says you have not because you ask not.  so be bold and very courageous, and ask God for big things!

Now what does it mean to be in Christ?  It means that we are new creations.  When we are in Christ, we are blessed with every blessing.  When we are in Christ, we are in the secret place of the Most High and we are protected.  When we are in Christ, we are the head and not the tail, above only and not beneath.

                                                                                    Joseph Prince

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Great Quotes from Joseph Prince's book, Unmerited Favor

I am really enjoying my reading of Joseph Prince's book, Unmerited Favor.  I am reading it slowly to really savor the chapters and topics.  I love the way he presents the Christian life as so free and joyful.  It lightens my spirit just to read the book and feel myself sigh this inner sigh of relief that IT IS NOT UP TO ME!  Yay!  This Christian life is totally based and founded and dependent on GOD and JESUS' WORK, not on me and my work!  I had to write that in capitals to really remind myself of that wonderful truth.  What a relief that it is all up to Him, all based on Him, all dependent on His faithfulness, all on account of His good works.  And if it is all based on Him, it is DONE!  It is sure and secure!  Whew!

What a relief to fall back into the arms that will never let me go, that will be sure to hold me up forever, and just REST!

Here are some great quotes from the book that I came across:

[We] actually have access to His blessings all the time, simply because of Jesus and His finished work at the cross. [We don't go 'in and out' of His favor dependent on our changing performance, no!  We are always in His favor and thus qualified for His blessings, based on the unchanging, perfect performance record of Christ!]

At the cross, our acceptance is found.

The cross of Jesus qualified you.

When you have Him, you have everything.

Because of the cross, God will not lift His hand of protection over us.

The New Covenant is based entirely on His unmerited favor.  There is nothing for you to do, nothing for you to perform, nothing for you to accomplish.

Jesus will never give up on you!

He will never leave you or forsake you no matter what mistakes you may have made.

Even if you fail, relationship and fellowship with God are not broken.

In the New Covenant, the blood of Jesus put an end to sin and gave us everlasting righteousness!

He is the God of more than enough, and that is His style.

                                                                            Joseph Prince

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