I Have Found

"I Have Found"

I have found a peace that ploughs on through the storm.
I have found a joy that jumps over sadness. 
I have found a love that lights up every room.
I have found, I've found You!

I have found a trust that teaches how to rest.
I have found a grace that guides me by the hand.
I have found a strength that stands like a mountain.
And I have found, I've found You!

You are all I want, You are all I need,
Everything my heart could hope for.
We are longing for, the Glory of the Lord,
Cause we know there's so much more!

Only You, fill my soul!

                                                           Kim Walker 

(One little note:  She sings "we are longing for the glory of the Lord, because we know there's so much more."  I take that to mean that we have everything in Christ, and we have found Him to be all to us.  We are complete in Him and He is surely in us, yet we do not experience everything of Him yet.  So we wish to experience all that He is, see that manifested in our lives.  I don't think it's saying we are incomplete or lacking.  Just that we wish to experience more and more all the adequacy we already have in Him!)

On Friendly Terms With God

Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way.

If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life!

Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

                                                                       Rom. 5:9-11

I love these verses because they spell out so vividly what we have through the finished work of Christ:  an amazing friendship with God!  We have been put on friendly terms with God.  He's our Friend and everything is okay between us and Him.  There is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way.  The sins that so often dragged us down and left us feeling too ashamed to approach Him are just plain GONE, taken away by Christ and nailed to the cross.  We're completely and positively reconciled to God.  We're in His favor.  There is nothing between us!  And since He's done this wonderful work to give us this amazing Friendship with God, just think how life will only expand and deepen as a result of this fact!

Let's revel in the amazing love of God today!  He calls us His friends and calls Himself our Friend!

                  With love,

Rob Rufus on Our Right Standing With God

Here are some wonderful quotes from Rob Rufus which go along with and actually inspired my post from two days ago:

"What does the gift of righteousness mean?  It means 'right standing with God!'  The gift of righteousness gives you permanent, unconditional, irreversible, from first to last right standing with God.  Now what does right standing with God mean?  It means that there is nothing between you and the Father.

"Right standing - nothing separating us!  Does the Father have any problems with the Son?  Is there any conflict between the Father and the Son?  Does the Father point out the Son's faults?  No, you are in Christ and through what happened at the Cross you are ONE with the Father!  So actually friends - every second of every moment of every day you are actually as close to the Father as Jesus is."

                                                                            Rob Rufus

For Julie

My friend Julie and her family are RVing across the west seeking to minister God's love to people they meet along the way.  (Check out their blog at http://adventurebound8.blogspot.com/.)  They shot this beautiful picture of the Grand Tetons.  I just had to put it on my blog because it was just so lovely!  Julie is one of those friends who has helped me to understand God's grace more just by the way she treats me.  Julie, you are a wonderful friend and I am so thankful to God for the gift of your friendship!  Thank you for accepting me as I am, warts and all.  You really know me and yet you love me still - you impart GRACE to me!  Thanks for being you...

Nothing Can Ever Come Between Us and God!

"Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face" (from 2 Co. 3, The Message Bible).

Rob Rufus makes a statement that "right standing with God" means that there's nothing between us and God.  Nothing in the way of our relationship with Him.  And since we have right standing with God as a permanent possession, as a grace gift, then nothing can ever come between us and God forever!

What could ever come between us?  NOTHING!  Not sin, not doubt, not confusion, not fear, not circumstances, not struggle - these things are nothing to Him!  Nothing shall separate us from His love, and we have been placed in His presence, before His face, forever!  Two verses say these very things:

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38-9).

"You have preserved my life because I am innocent; You have brought me into your presence forever." (Ps. 41:12)

We're always in His love, always in His presence.  That is all I've ever wanted - to be right with Him, with nothing between us, in union, in that love relationship, ONE - forever!  And that is exactly what Jesus died to give us and He accomplished His goal!  We simply receive the gift of His life and find ourselves in union with God!  There is never any separation - we are face to face in perfect and unhindered fellowship forever!

This union relationship and fellowship is what the new birth gives us and what all Christians have.  The Holy Spirit assures us of this, of our adoption, of that Parent - child relationship we have with God, of the veil of the law which once separated us being gone so that there is nothing between us).  The Holy Spirit has brought us into this union through regenerating us into this union of our spirit with His and He maintains this union in us.

The birthright and privilege of every child of God is open, intimate communion with Him.  We are the righteousness of Christ, in right relationship with Him forever.  Our relationship with Him is as perfect and close as the relationship Jesus has with the Father is!

                 With love to all,

Oh, How He Loves Us!

My friend Caroline encouraged me to watch this video, and it was powerful and uplifting, so I wanted to share it here.

"May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God's children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high His love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it...." (From Eph. 3, The Living Bible).

I definitely desire a revelation of His love.  I want to know and experience it more fully, understand, grasp and enjoy it more deeply.  I pray He'll break away every lie and confusion in my heart and others' hearts so we can all grasp how deep His love for us really is!

Oh, how He loves us!

Grits and Grace

My dear neighbor Linda told me the following story that she'd heard from her pastor recently:

A man who was not from the South was traveling through a Southern state and stopped in a diner to order breakfast.  He ordered bacon and eggs, but when his meal arrived, he saw the plate had bacon, eggs and also a hot, white goop on it.  The man quickly asked the waitress about this extra item on his plate, and she explained he'd been served something called "grits" with his meal.

The man protested that he hadn't ordered grits, and the waitress said, "You don't have to order them."  The man insisted that he would not pay for these grits that he hadn't even ordered, and the waitress said, "You don't have to pay for them."  The man was very confused, but the waitress explained, "Sir, you don't have to order them and you don't have to pay for them.  They just come."

That is grace.  We don't have to ask or beg for God's grace to be upon us.  We don't have to pay for or earn that grace in any way.  We don't have to do anything to get it and there is nothing we need to do to deserve it.  It just comes.

Grace always comes to us, like hot and steamy grits with your southern breakfast.  Freely given with no payment needed or required.  No matter what, grace always comes to us!
                With love,


Photos From Our Trip to the Mountains

Here are some pictures from our recent vacation in the mountains.  The weather was perfect and the mountains were beautiful.  We had a wonderful time, and I wanted to share some photos!

My daughter actually held one of these butterflies (above) on her finger!

The kids enjoyed wading in this beautiful river.  The water was freezing cold, but they didn't mind.

We hiked to a really cool waterfall.  It came over a ledge and you could actually walk behind it.  The water volume for this waterfall is not very great, so it's hard to see in the picture. 

Pretty mountain scenery.  Only a few leaves were beginning to get a hint of color.  The mornings were cool, though, and fall was in the air.  We had a great trip!

When We're Tired of Trying to Measure Up

I get tired of trying to measure up.  Trying to measure up to what I've felt are God's expectations, trying to measure up to what others seem to expect of me, trying to measure up to my own demands for myself, even.

It's great to remember, when I get tired of trying to meet those impossible standards, that God says I can rest.  I can rest, because between Him and me, things are okay.  Christ has already "measured up" for me, so I don't have to!  I measure up just fine in Jesus, whose work is perfect.  God isn't placing any expectations on me.  He's perfectly satisfied with the work of the Son on my behalf, and since I'm in the Son, He's perfectly satisfied with me!  Those words sound almost brash to write.  But it's true according to the Bible - we are justified (made right in God's sight) FREELY as a gift by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:24), for by ONE offering He has perfected forever (made perfect before God) those who are sanctified (Heb. 10:14)!  We're made right and perfected by the work of Jesus.  To me, that means I have been lifted up in Christ outside the realm of "expectations" and "needing to measure up."

When I get tired of trying to measure up to the expectations put out for me in this world, it's nice to know that before God I am completely acceptable!  I have the good opinion of the One who matters most.  His good opinion of me puts me in a place that is above and separate from the opinions of others.  I tend to care too much what other people think.  But the increasing awareness that God approves of me frees me from caring so much about other people's approval.  It also frees me to be able to minister to them.  The answer always seems to come back to Him and how He sees me.  He says I've measured up in Christ and am forever acceptable to Him!

Jeff VanVonderen has a book called "Tired of Trying to Measure Up."  It's like a counselor in a book, and there are many wonderful gems in this book to give us relief from feeling the need to "measure up" before God.  I want to share a few of my favorite quotes from this book:

"It is God's grace, not our striving, that makes us accepted and acceptable.  It is His performance in Christ, not our trying hard to perform, that eradicates our shame.

"What's so wonderful is that we can be loved, accepted, capable and worthwhile for free - because , in love, god purchased our eternal state of "acceptedness" with the blood of His own Son, Jesus Christ...That's the REAL Good News of the Gospel!

"The solution to the self-effort treadmill is resting in what God has already done through Jesus Christ.

"Develop the picture of your worth and value from God, not from the false reflections that come out of your past.

"If my acceptance is based on HIS performance, it's totally secure!  Unchangeable!

"Our heavenly Father is not just putting up with us.  He likes it when we come around.  We aren't bothering Him with our problems.  He isn't going to shame us for not having it all together...God's response toward those in pain is comfort..not shame for being so human that we have problems.

"In God's scheme of things, in the true Christian life there is no performance on our part.

"The behavior fight is the wrong fight.

"Many Christians live their whole lives trying to earn, with their own behavior, what was already purchased for them by the blood of Jesus:  life, value, and God's approval.

"Jesus came to make you acceptable to God, and He has!..."Earning" value and acceptance isn't possible.  Thankfully, it's already been given to us by God's grace, through Christ's performance."

                                                          Jeff VanVonderen

Your Love Never Fails!

Great song!  I love it and it describes what has happened to me!

Here are the words:

Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

The wind is strong and the water's deep
But I'm not alone in these open seas
Cause Your love never fails

The chasm is far too wide
I never thought I'd reach the other side
But Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There maybe pain in the night 

But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

You make all things work together for my good

You make all things work together for my good
                                                                Chris McClarney

The Way He Treats Us

We are blessed to have the very life of Christ within us, His Spirit dwelling within.  There is an intimate union of spirit with Spirit that is our permanent reality now.  We are never alone, for we always have Him joined with us in perfect fellowship.  We are never "at odds" with each other; this friendship is solid, secure and unchangeably right.  And having such a Friend so close and united with us, it is a blessing that He treats us right every single time.

He will lead us into all truth - that means He'll never lie or bring confusion.  We can trust every word He says to us.  He defeats the power of all the lies we've believed over the years.  He frees us from their grip on us by telling us the truth of our belovedness and freedom, of our rightness with God as a gift through Jesus.

He is the Comforter - that means He will never make us feel worse, only better.  He will never bruise our wounded souls or be harsh.  He restores a sense of wholeness to us and wipes our tears.  He holds us till we can function again.  He promises to never leave or forsake us but instead to always be there for us with His comforting presence. 

He is the minister of the New Covenant, which is of grace and not law.  To me that means that He isn't "law-ing" me to death, but instead "gracing" my dead places to life again!  He isn't bossing me around but freeing my heart to worship and love life and others again.  He continually pours onto me the acceptance and favor I so crave.

He is the power that raised Christ from the dead.  That means we're sure to be raised bodily one day as well, and that even now on this earth we are sustained moment by moment by His very presence within us!  No matter what our sin or struggle, His life triumphs over all and continues to carry us along.  He truly lives in and through us!  His power fights against every attack of the evil one, every temptation, every lie that is whispered to us.  We are never alone and vulnerable.  Someone is fighting for us with resurrection power!

He ministers righteousness, peace and joy to us in this new kingdom.  That means I never need worry that He will condemn me, for He is the One proclaiming that I am righteous with the righteousness of Christ Himself!  His presence fills me with joy and peace.  He brings security and a feeling of elation.  He is here and all is well.  His life has triumphed over all that was killing us and delivered us from the death realm to the life realm.  We're free from all that bound us.  That brings joy!

He pours God's love into our hearts.  He isn't there to put us down or make us feel like sorry failures.  He is there to give us back our dignity, to tell us we have worth and value, to tell us that Someone cares that we exist.  We're precious in His sight and delighted in by God Himself.  We are loved.

What a wonderful Friend, Christ Himself in His very Spirit, is living within us, joined to us as our forever companion! 

                            With love,

The Descending Escalator (Law) vs. The Ascending Escalator (Grace)

I loved this short video of Rob Rufus illustrating the difference between grace and law.   The quality on this clip is not that great, but the message sure is!  Just what I needed to hear today..

Here is a quote from the video:

"The kingdom of heaven is an ascending escalator. It's on a foundation of grace that the Holy Spirit moves, not on human performance or effort. And the amazing thing about this ascending escalator, even if you fail or make a mistake or, can I say, even sin, as you fall down on an ascending escalator, when you are down confessing your sin, when you get up, to your amazement the escalator hasn't stopped! It's still going, and you look around and you're still going up!"

The kingdom of heaven is an ascending escalator!  Even when we fail He is still bringing us up, up, up!  His Life trumps all our sin, self-effort, struggle and falling.  All those things are just shadows of the old creation, which is death.  But we've been placed into the new creation, which is Life.  And Life trumps death every time!  We are carried up and away by His LIFE!   We are sustained and uplifted by the power of an indestructible life, by the power of the resurrection life of Christ Himself put within us.  So up we go!  Grace is just such good news, isn't it?

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.                                   Rom. 8:2

May you enjoy the ride in Him today!

                      With love,

Christ Our Home

Grace says Christ is our Home where we are sheltered safely in His arms of love, cradled tenderly as a little child in His care and keeping.

Home is "that place we somehow haven't to deserve" (Robert Frost).

He is our Home that we don't have to deserve.

We are safe in Him, and He is holding us tightly.

Jesus holds us and cradles us in His arms until the crying stops, until the striving stops, until we relax, until at last we know that we are secure in His arms and always will be.

We have a place where we belong, where we are always welcomed and embraced, where we are always understood and celebrated.  We have an Eternal Home named Jesus.

Thank You, Lord, for being Home to us!

"The God of your fathers is your safe resting-place, and under you are his eternal arms."                                   Deut. 33:27

                     With love to all,

The Spirit of Grace

I'm learning lately about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and I've come to see that I have had so many misconceptions about Him.  I think most of them have come from a faulty view of God as harsh, not kind, and of a faulty view of our relationship with Him as based on our behavior, not His grace.  In the past I was taught that part of the Holy Spirit's work was to point out my faults, but God is showing me that the Holy Spirit's work is actually to point out that I'm right with Him as a gift through Jesus' work!  That He isn't mad at me but instead rejoicing in me, the new creation He's made in Christ!  The Spirit isn't there to point out my faults but to point out the beautiful things Jesus has done in and for us. 

I think the most exhilarating thing God has been teaching me is that the Holy Spirit will never, ever harm me but will always be loving toward me.  He builds up rather than tearing down.  He won't crush a bruised person but will instead bring healing to the heart.  He ministers affirmation, not condemnation! 

I've been collecting some great thoughts about the Holy Spirit and thought I'd share them:

"'Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight:  for by the law is the knowledge of sin.'  If the knowledge of sin is by the law, why does the 'church' keep blaming it on the Holy Spirit?  Stop it.  His ministry is one of life, not death and condemnation."
                                                                       Cornel Marais

"The Holy Spirit never tries to manipulate or control you with guilt.  Where He is - there is liberty."                          Rob Rufus

"The Holy Spirit is never convicting you of sin!  The Bible says He will lead you into all truth.  What is the truth?  That at the Cross God forgave all your sins - past tense...The Holy Spirit isn't telling you that you are a sinner - He is telling you that your sins are gone and that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus."    Rob Rufus

"The Spirit has to do with Christ (grace) and the letter has to do with flesh (law).  The Spirit ministers grace (His finished work on our behalf)!
                                                                        Bertie Brits

And now some wonderful verses that point out these truths to me:

I will talk to the Father, and he'll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth.
                                                                                   John 14:15b

When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes—the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father—he will confirm everything about me.
                                                                             John 15:26

...when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is.   John 16:12b

And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.    1 Co. 2:12

For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.               Rom. 5:5b

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”  For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.             Rom. 8:15-6

Some things I see in these verses:  The Holy Spirit is our Friend and Comforter.  He's always with us, so that we need never feel alone or abandoned.  He's always confirming and testifying of Jesus and His finished work, guiding us into all truth (such as the fact that we are the righteousness of God in Christ and of the fact that we are under grace and not law).  He shows us all that we've been freely given through grace.  He fills our hearts with God's love and the assurance that we're His children.  He is the minister of the New Covenant of grace - of God's free gift of a right relationship with God through Jesus!

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for ministering grace, love and affirmation - and never condemnation and shame - to our hearts!

                               With love,

Could It Be That the God of our Dreams IS the True God?

Could it be that the God we've only dreamed about, only hoped for, only wished could be real - IS real!  Could that God we've dreamed about actually be the real God?

Think of how you would wish or dream God could be.  I think of the verses in Ephesians that say He is able to do more than we ask or imagine.  Couldn't we also say that He IS more than we ask or imagine?

Could it be that God is really patient with us, always?  That He won't reject us, no matter how many times we fall?  That He never gets an exasperated look on His face when He thinks about us?

Could it be that God is really kind?  That He really has no ulterior motives?  That He really does nice things for us for free, without demanding anything in return?

Could it be that God is really always looking on us as His perfect kids?  Could it be that He really doesn't see our faults, that they change nothing in our relationship with Him?  That they don't faze Him at all, that He never ever will hold our wrongs against us?

Could it be that God is gentle and careful not to hurt us?  Especially those of us who are wounded by life on earth?  Could it be that He never gives a harsh word? 

Could it be that His love will never, ever fail us, no matter what we face or what terrible thing we do?  Could it really be that He will love us regardless of anything at all?  Could it be that His love will always support us and never let us down?

YES!  I could be, and it IS!  Those qualities I listed above I took from the "love chapter" in the Bible, 1 Co. 13.  And God is love.  So He is all those qualities and more!  That amazes me.  I feel I am only at the edge of even beginning to grasp His love and how great it is!  Lord, give us all a revelation of how great Your love for us really is!  I am so glad You are pure love, beyond all our hopes and dreams!

What joy to find out the God we've thought we could only dream about is the REAL God!  What joy to find out this isn't a happy dream after all but eternal reality - we are loved with a perfect love by a Perfect Love that won't ever let us go!

                            With love,
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