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,

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

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

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,

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    

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

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,

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

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,

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

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,

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!

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,

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,

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,
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