Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

                         With love from Sparrow

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Joyful, Joyful Lyrics

I just wanted to post the lyrics to the hymn from the previous post.  They are so good, I wanted to have them written out here:

Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day!

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, earth and heaven reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee, center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain call us to rejoice in Thee.

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.

Mortals, join the happy chorus, which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o’er us, brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward, victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward in the triumph song of life.

                                                                     Henry J. vanDyke

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I love this hymn, with its wonderful is such a happy and jubilant song of praise to the One whose birth we are celebrating now!

He broke into this dark and suffering world to bring hope, release, freedom and joy!

He broke onto the scene and changed everything!  His presence, like a shaft of brilliant light, pierced the darkness forever and melted it away!

In His presence, there is such healing, and restoration, such freedom and delight, such peace and rest, such grace and acceptance, such abundance and JOY!

Thank You for coming into this world to start up Your Kingdom of Kindness and Love, dear Jesus!  You have ALL authority over the enemy of our souls, and You came to set us free from the evil grip of lies, bondage, ruin, darkness and decay.  You came to give us life, Your Life, that is more abundant than we can ever imagine!  We are in Your presence, spirit to Spirit, forevermore - oh, what a wonderful place we find ourselves in with You!

You are the One that we have always longed for!

Hearts unfold like flowers before You!

You make ALL things new!

In Your Presence is FULLNESS of joy!

And at Your right hand are pleasures FOREVERMORE!

Thank You for coming and taking on flesh for us, as us, so that we could be identified with You and united with You forever.  Christ in us, the hope of Glory!

Joyful, joyful, we adore You!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

The One Who Saves - His Love Endures Forever

The One Who Saves by Hillsong Live

Come join the song, lift your voice 
As heaven and earth give praise 
Fall to your knees, at the feet 
Of the Son of The One True God 
Turn from old ways, lift your eyes 
For the kingdom of God is here 
Open your heart, offer all 
For Jesus Christ is here 
Oh now 

We have found our hope 
We have found our peace 
We have found our rest 
In the One who Loves 
He will light the way 
He will lead us home 
As we offer all 
To the One who saves us 

Call on the Name, that is hope 
Jesus the Son of God 
Lord over all, He is good 
And His mercy endures

His love endures 
Forever His love endures 
Forever His love endures 
Forever and ever 

I love this wonderful song!  Just thinking about how, in Christ, we have it all...and we have found what we have been searching our whole lives to find - the peace, the love, the rest - we are finally home, for we have found our home in Him!

And then the idea of His love enduring forever, I just ponder that and can't really even take it in!  His love won't EVER fail us.  He will always, always love us, no matter what!

Even if I fail, even if I doubt, even if I end up ruining my life and crashing into the gutter - His love for me will still be just the same.  That love will be there to pick me up and gently turn my face until I am looking into His eyes, and I will ever only see LOVE in that gaze!  Not disappointment, anger, displeasure, wrath, irritation, or callousness - only LOVE radiates out from that countenance!  Only LOVE shines out from those eternal eyes!  And I'm perfectly accepted in those eyes of Love!  Those eyes see me whole, beautiful, delightful and perfect.  His love won't ever fail to uplift and restore and keep and hold and smile upon us, forever and ever!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Secure in Christ 5 - He Upholds and Keeps Us

I'm continuing with my thinking about our security in Christ, and with the idea of being safe in God's hand.  He holds me in His hand and also UPholds me with His hand..

I love the truth that God upholds me with His hand!  It is just another facet of the finished work of Christ that lets me know I'm secure in Him forever.  By the cross, Christ has done away with my sins and even my old sinful nature/self.  He has eradicated the former ruler of my life, that terrible slave master of sin, evil, and the enemy.  Through the resurrection He has brought me to life with Him, a whole new creation, part of the eternal realm, made with Jesus' eternal life-DNA; my spirit is now alive and united with His Spirit!  He sent the Spirit to baptize/fill us with the fullness of Himself!  We are now alive as we were meant to be, glowing with His very Spirit, radiating His life, full of His glory, lavished with His grace, loved and cherished and held!  Christ is in us, Christ is our very life.  And also, we are IN Him just as He is IN us.  Our life is hidden with Christ in God now, safe in His Hand.  By the finished work, Christ has raised us up to a whole new life that is located in God's hand.  We are placed in His hand forever.  That's our address now!

Being in God's hand is such a safe place to be.  That hand is always underneath us. that hand is always holding on to us and holding us up.  So we can't fatally fall, can't fall out of that grip!

I think of  Ps 37:23-24 -  "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholds him with His hand."  He won't let us fall away.  The will uphold us with His righteous right hand.  He says it so beautifully in Is 41:10 -   "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."  And another favorite I am reminded of:  "Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory...My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."  (Ps. 73:23, 24, 26)  I love that verse, because it just reminds me that there is something behind and underneath and around me holding me up - God Himself.  He is greater.  He is greater than all my fears and doubts and sins and failings.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but HE won't fail.  He won't let me down.  He will keep me safe in His hand, hold me up, carry me all the way through.  Underneath this broken and sometimes banged up life are the everlasting arms.  And He won't fail to uphold me and bring me safely to glory!

God is our keeper (Ps. 121).  We don't have to worry about keeping ourselves.  He will keep us.  He will move us along and get us to where He wants us to be.  His Spirit is inside us, willing and working, making sure we get to our destination.  God is the one who establishes us or makes us firm and secure in Christ (2 Co. 1:22).  He will be faithful to keep what we've committed to Him - our very lives - until the day of Christ.  We don't have to worry about keeping ourselves.  He Himself will keep us firm in the faith:  "He will keep you firm to the end" (1 Co. 1:8) - or, as the Phillips translation says, "He will keep you steadfast in the faith to the end, so that when His day comes you need fear no condemnation.  God is utterly dependable, and it is He who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord."

It is such a relief to me that I don't have to worry about holding on to Him or losing my grip and slipping away;  He is holding on to me, and He won't lose His grip!  He won't let me fall!  I'm safe in His hand, and no one - not even myself - can pluck me out of His hand!  Wow - in John 10 Jesus says no one can snatch the sheep out of His Father's hand.  No one!  No one is all inclusive and means nobody at all - including Satan, other people, and even myself!  Safe in His arms forever! The Good Shepherd Himself is the very Guardian and Keeper of my soul, so that means I'm surely secure forever!  (1 Pet. 2:25)

Whatever God does, He does all the way and forever.  He will finish the work He started and be faithful to complete it in us (Phil. 1:6)  He has promised that He won't cast us out or lose us or drop us!  He will carry us safely and uphold us safely in His hand all the way to the last day when He returns, for that's the Father's will:  "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all those He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day.  For My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day."  (Jn. 6:39-40)   Christ finished the work the Father gave Him to do and we looked to the Son and believed.  So that's that.  We are already in His hand, safe and secure.  That's where we'll be now and forever.
He will preserve us, body, soul, and spirit, blameless till the coming of the Lord.  He is faithful and He will do it! (1 Th. 5:23-4)

Thank You, Lord, for upholding us with Your strong Hand!  Thank You for being our keeper, the very guardian of our souls!  You watch over us, protect and guard our souls, and keep us safe in Your heavenly kingdom.  It is so good to know those Almighty arms are underneath us, holding us tightly and protectively, keeping us firmly with You forever.  It is so good to rest in Your arms today..

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Secure in Christ 4 - We Are Held in God's Hand

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; noone will snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; noone can snatch them out of My Father's hand.  John 10:28-9

I'm continuing with some thoughts on our security in Christ.  So often in the past I have felt insecure in my relationship with God, worried that I could possible do something to knock me out of God's family, so to speak.  But God has helped me to see that I'm not stronger than He is!  I am in God's hand, and nothing or noone can knock me out or snatch me out of that strong, protective, sheltering hand - not even myself!  God the Father is "greater than all," even greater than me and my actions and possible doubts and failings.  I am so thankful that He holds me safely in His hand!

We can rest assured that if the verse says noone can snatch us from His hand, not only does that include we ourselves with all our doubtings and failings, but it also includes any power in this world, including the devil himself.  Satan can never snatch me out of God's hand.  I don't have to worry that he'll "get me" on some big temptation or confusion or doubt and somehow snatch me away from God.  1 John 5:18 reminds me that the evil one CAN'T TOUCH US!  Hallelujah!  We are safe from every attack!  We are in God's hand now, not the enemy's!  We are in God's kingdom now, where Christ reigns.  "For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves" (Col. 1:13)  We are under God's jurisdiction now, not Satan's. Jesus is Lord of us now, not the enemy!  The enemy is no longer in control of us, for Jesus has freed us from the devil's reign, control, bondage, and destruction.

The devil has NO authority in my life to hurt me or snatch me away from God!  Even if I seem to give the devil any leeway or listen to his lies, he can't snatch me away from God because God is GREATER than all, greater than those lies, greater than Satan's attacks upon me, greater even than my sometimes dumb choices to let the enemy have a word in my ear.  We can rest assured that not only do we have a new nature and really don't ever and won't ever want to leave God anyway (we are His sheep and we follow Him, that's a promise, that we WILL follow Him - "My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me" - John 10:27), but also that Satan can never change that intent of our heart or trick us and snatch us away.  No matter what, I am still safely in God's hand!

He won't fail us.  No matter what, always and forever, underneath us are the everlasting arms of God.  He will hold onto us, even when we don't have the strength to hold onto Him.  We can't get away from this love that will not let us go!  No matter where we go, no matter where we seem to run sometimes, even there in the most desolate of places that we find ourselves, even there His right hand shall hold us - Ps 139:10.  He's got a grip on us and He's not letting go!

"He (God) Himself has said, 'I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.  I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (relax My hold on you)!  Assuredly not!'"  Heb. 13:5 (AMP)  He will never relax His hold on us!  We're held safe and secure by God.  The arms that hold the world are holding you and me today..

Thank You, Lord, that You are greater than ALL!  You are greater than my sins, doubts, confusion or troubled thoughts, greater than all the powers in this world, FAR greater than the enemy who assails me with doubts and confusion.  You are greater than all that!  GREATER is He that is IN me than he that is in the world!  GREATER is He that is holding on to me than anyone or anything else, including my own little self with its paltry decisions.  Thank You that I am SAFE in Your hand where noone and nothing can snatch me out, forever and always!  Safe in the arms of love...I can snuggle down in Your arms and rest, knowing You ONLY make me to rest in safety and security and peace.  Thank You that You in Your grace hold me, and You will never relax Your hold on me!

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Know That You Are For Me

What a wonderful song from Kari Jobe...God is for us, so faithful and true to always be there for us, on our side, accepting and loving, uplifting and acting on our behalf, carrying and holding, guarding and keeping, comforting and encouraging, delighting and smiling upon us!

Thank You, Lord, that You are for us!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thank You, Lord

Thank You, dear Lord, for just being You and for all You are to us!

Thank You, Lord, that You are for us!  Thank You that You are with us!

You always remind us who You are, and who You are is pure love and grace!

You are ever faithful and true to us!

Thank You that Your steadfast, unconditional, loyal love for us endures forever!  It never ends or grows weary of us, never runs out, never gives up on us or turns away from us!

It always hopes, always trusts, always believes, always endures!

Your love never fails!  It never fails us!  It will never fail us for all eternity!

The arms that hold us are everlasting arms that will never fail to be there for us, never fail to catch us when we fall and lift us up again, never fail to embrace us as we are, never fail to carry us through anything and everything, forevermore!

Thank You, Lord, for such love that caused You to reconcile us, save us, adopt us, re-birth us, accept us, uplift us, empower us, befriend us, walk with us, and just be with us for ever and always..

Thank You for Your presence with us, that You fellowship with us, sing over us with joy, and delight in the perfect, intimate union of our spirit with Yours for all eternity!

Thank You, Lord!  All praise to You forever!


Happy Thanksgiving to all, with love from Sparrow!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Secure in Christ 3 - We Have a New Nature

Still pondering the wonder of the new birth and how it shows me I'm secure in my salvation:

Because of the new birth, we are permanently new creations and can't ever go back to the "old man."  We now have, as part of our spiritual DNA, the imperishable divine Life of God.  In fact, we are so united with the life of God that our spirit and His Spirit are ONE.  Being inseparably one with eternal Life like that, we'll never die.  But there's more good news..we have been made new creations with not only the very Life of Christ as our life, but also with the very nature of Christ as our nature!

We have only one nature - Christ's nature.  The old sin nature that we had passed away; all things - ALL things, think of that! - have become new.  So our nature is new, and only new, and the only nature we have is new - it's the nature of Christ Himself, who is our life.  Just as we have the characteristics of our earthly parent, so we have the characteristics of our heavenly Parent - His life, His immortality, His nature!

We have been made "partakers of the divine nature" and this nature is a righteous, holy, loving, good nature.  There is nothing in our new selves, our real selves, that wants to sin.  Our new nature loves holiness, loves God the Father, loves other people, and always wants to do what is right!  That is such a relief to me to know I'm not bad or evil or rebellious against God.  I used to be an enemy of God in my mind, but now my spirit, my true and real self, is a friend and lover of God who always wants to follow His ways.  Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and they know Me, and they follow Me."  Isn't that a comfort, to know we will follow Him?  And why?  Because it is our very nature to do so.  We wouldn't want to do anything else.  When Satan does tempt us and we fall, that is why we feel so bad about our failure - because it's not our nature to want to sin or to do sin!  It's not our nature to fear, doubt God, rebel, be self-centered, or pull away from the Lord!  It's our nature - the very nature of Christ in us - to say "I delight to do Your will."  that is such a comfort to me!

We have a righteous nature, and that's the only nature we have.  So we are fit for heaven because we are righteous with the righteous nature of Christ as our nature!  You can't get any more righteous than that!  And we didn't become that way through our hard work, efforts, or willpower:  we were RE_BORN that way and thus will be permanently that way.  It's just another characteristic we have as new creations!  We're re-born as righteous, not unrighteous, people!  We're newly made as not sinners any longer but as saints.  The sinner man is gone forever and the saint man is here forever.  The saintly, righteous new creation that God has made doesn't want to leave Him, fall away, turn from Him, or walk off and leave Him.

So often I've been afraid that I'd leave God and that I'd lose my salvation.  I didn't see how set in stone my salvation really is - because of the new birth, my nature is wholly changed.  I am now a person who doesn't ever want to leave God!  And that is my permanent condition, because the new birth is a permanent thing that can't be reversed.  So I never have to fear that I'd leave God.  There is a verse in Hebrews 3 that says to see that you don't have an evil and unbelieving heart in departing from God - did you catch that?  People who aren't yet saved have evil and unbelieving hearts.  They have hearts that are rebellious and depart from God.  Believers have have a new heart and new nature!  Our hearts are good and righteous and believing hearts!  Our hearts are not rebellious - we hear Jesus' voice, know Him, and follow Him!  We won't depart from God!  We cling to God and love God with all that we are, and want more than anything to please Him.  So we can rest assured that we won't fall away or walk away or depart from Him.  We really can't go against our very nature, which is the nature of Christ Himself in us.  Christ would never leave God, so neither will we.  Whew!

God showed me a very special promise from His Word that says this very thing.  It is such a comfort ot me:  it's in Jer. 32:40  -  " I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me."  Isn't that wonderful?  God not only promises that He would never turn away from us, He also promises that we will never turn away from Him.  He has given us a new heart that fears (awes, revers) Him and so won't turn from Him, ever, NEVER!  What a relief..

What a wonderful thing that God has wrought in us in the new birth!  It shows me how safe and secure I am as His new creation child!

So we

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Secure in Christ 2 - We are in Union with the One who is Eternal Life!

Here are more thoughts on our new birth and how it shows us just how secure we are in Christ:

" our life" - and He's the only life we have; the old life we had passed away and was ended at the cross, and we are now alive with His life.  "I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me."  Christ is my very life - His divine Life is flowing through my spiritual veins and sustaining me in this life forever and ever, because His life will never end - He is God, eternal, immortal, ever-living for me!

And His Spirit is in me, making me alive in the same way - this is the law of the Spirit, that we are buoyed up in LIFE and have been delivered out of the realm of sin and it's result, death.  Wow!

It is wonderful to think of the very Life that is inside us, and not just dwelling inside us but in actual and real union with our spirits!  Christ Himself is in union with our spirit - His Spirit and our spirit are one!  One!  "He that is joined to Christ is one spirit with Him."  (Some translations just say "one spirit!")  One - that's pretty close!  That means there is absolutely no separation between us and Him. And there never will be any separation between us and Him, because this union is part of the new (and permanent) birth - it is how we were re-made and newly created.  So I am not just a newly made Sparrow - I am now Sparrow-in-Christ!  That is the way I have been newly made and the way I was re-born, and it is a fact of my new creation.  I was created that way, as Sparrow-in-Christ, and that is permanent and how I will always be, because it is the way I was made and born.  Always in Christ and Christ always in me!  Never separated or apart from Him.  Never separated from His life!  I can never be separated from Him, and He is the One who is Eternal Life.  That means I have eternal life forever and that my life is eternal, for my life, the only life I have now, IS Christ!  My spirit is in indissoluble union with Christ's Spirit, and His Eternal Spirit lives forever - thus, so do I!  Where He goes, He takes me with Him - into eternity!  

Safe in His Life!  We can't ever get out of who we are now, who He has re-made us to be!  The new birth has brought us into a whole new permanent existence - Union with Christ - that is out of this world and already into the next world, the world of eternity!  Yes!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Secure in Christ 1 - The New Birth is Irreversible

The miracle of the new birth helps me to see just how secure I am in Christ..

The new birth is irreversible!

It's a historical fact that actually occurred at a point in time.  When we were born again, a new being came into existence that hadn't existed before, and an old being was gone forever.  2 Cor. 5:17 says that we are new creations!  The old is passed away, behold, all things are become new!  The old is passed away and gone - it can't be brought back!  The old us, the dead in sin, self-centered, slave to sin and Satan self is now gone - the old man is dead, buried, and will not ever be seen again.  We can't go back to being that old person because that person has passed away forever.  We can't be a lost person anymore, or a sinner, or a child of wrath or the devil.  The old has passed away!

All things are become new!  We are now and forever a new creation - a new person, a found person, a saint, a child of God!  We are now alive to God in Christ!  We've emerged as wholly new-made creations into a wholly new and eternal realm.  We're on the other side of the "womb" and can't go back to that other place where the old man once existed.  We have been born again, and birth is irreversible and permanent - we can't be unborn!  God says, "I make, and who can unmake it?"  Nobody can!  We are new; we are never old again!

Thus we are safe and secure as babes in God's arms, and we can't lose this wonderful new birth or ever stop being this newly created being He has so beautifully and wonderfully made!

What we've been born of - the substance that we are made of - is of heaven!  It's heavenly and divine material.  We have been born of imperishable seed, indestructible life, eternal life..  We're made with the imperishable Word of God, the very life of God - He is in our spiritual DNA.  That's the make-up of our spirit man.  Our new spirits are made of the eternal life of God, for He is our parent and we are His children, born of God, born from above, born of the Spirit who gives Life!  The Life of God can't be destroyed, and this is the Life that is now ours and what makes up our spiritual cells.  It is the material that we are made of.  We are born of imperishable seed - that means it can't (and therefore WE can't) perish, be destroyed, be lost, or die!

Wow, this thought leaves me feeling so free and happy and secure!  My spirit will live forever, because it has been born of forever material - Divine Life, Life that is imperishable and goes on forever!  That means my spirit is imperishable and unkillable and will go on forever with God!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Secure in Christ - Introduction

I have struggled many times in the past with feeling secure in my salvation and have been afraid that I might lose my salvation somehow.  It seems many other people have these same fears and troubling thoughts at times. 

God has reassured me so often about my security in Him, and I think one of the first benefits I experienced upon learning about His grace was that I am so safe and secure in His hand, and He won't let me go.  He showed me how loving He was because it was He who led me to this place of being receptive to Him and opening my heart to Him, and He will surely "keep" me and take care of my heart and life from now on into eternity.  It was like I could see that it was all part of His over-arching plan, and it wasn't so much up to me to get all my ducks in a row - it was really all up to Him, He had His hand on me, and He would finish what He started in me. 

Learning about grace, and how it's all about His work and not my work, just gave me peace and a sense of relief.  Salvation isn't up to me, it's up to God - that takes the fear out of it that we might fall away..for He is strong and He will hold on to me!  My sins just aren't bigger than God's grace - His grace is bigger every time!  His grace is holding on to me, and that brings such peace and joy. 

I would like in the next few posts to share some things I've come to realize and things I've seen in the Bible that have helped me to know I'm secure in Him forever.  And I hope these thoughts will be an encouragement to anyone who has doubted their security in Christ or been fearful of losing their salvation. 

We are safe in His arms!  We have come to Him and we find rest, blessed rest, for our souls!  Grace is such good news in every way..

Until next time..

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Tale of the Poor Old - I Mean, Wonderful New - Roof! Part 5

 The way God just provided our family with a much needed roof, and for free! - has encouraged me so much!

It has helped my faith so much to see how God prepared me for this whole situation, giving me the verses in Phil. 4:6-7, enabling me not to worry about it, and that He helped me to pray and ask, and that He made faith rise up within me and gave me peace.  And then how it all worked out so perfectly!  God is so good.  I love Him so much!  

This whole thing also helped me to feel God's love for me and my family...At the moment the man told us we were getting a new roof for free, I didn't feel like just one of the millions of people on earth.  I didn't feel like just a number or another nameless human walking through the masses.  I didn't feel like just a little unimportant nobody.  I felt LOVED!  I felt the LOVE of God on our family, and that we are so important to Him and special, without having to be "important" and "special" according to the world!  I felt like we are cherished children in His family, NEVER out of His notice or concern or care!  He cares even about little ole us down here in a little tiny town in middle class America!  It is a miracle of love that He has given us with this roof!  It is such a blessing to know He loves me and my family and we are important to Him.    

Another big thing I got out of this whole experience is just the idea that we aren't less than someone else in God's family - we, along with every other Christian, equally qualify for His blessings just by being His children.  That is such a comfort to me and makes me know I'm not some failed Christian (like I might sometimes feel or like the enemy might sometimes try to tell me) but a fellow heir with all the saints with just as much access to His throne as any believer!  Qualified for the inheritance with every other saint!  Isn't it wonderful that we qualify not by our good works or even perfect faith but by the precious and perfectly sufficient blood of Jesus?    We qualify to receive answers to our prayers, and that means every single prayer - "Call unto Me and I will answer you."  I think that is in Jeremiah 33:3.  We qualify for every spiritual blessing, which is actually already ours, according to Eph. 1:3.  And we can know for sure that God will meet ALL our needs according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19), for we qualify for that provision through Christ!

I think I also learned something about faith.  I'm the kind of person that tends to think I have paltry faith or am weak in faith.  But really, it's all about His perfection and even His perfect faith, not mine - don't you think our faith is really His faith in us rising up, like it says, a fruit of the Spirit in us?   "The life I live, I live by the faith OF the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."  (Gal. 2:20b)  When I examine my faith, it seems small and weak.  But if I realize I have Him living in me with His faith inside me, then that would mean my/His faith is really quite strong and certainly adequate!  I would rather rely on His faith within me than try to muster up my own! With His faith inside me in infinite and perfect supply, I feel relieved that I AM a person of faith and trust.  Because the faithful and trustworthy One lives in and through me!  Jesus never doubts the Father's word.  He trusts Him perfectly.  And that's the Spirit who lives in me!  It makes faith seem as natural as breathing, with the very Spirit ("pneuma" - Wind or Breath) of God breathing and blowing in me!

Thank You, Lord, for all Your gifts, especially Your wonderful Son who died for us and Your Spirit who lives in us!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Tale of the Poor Old Roof, Part 4

Picking up from where we left off last time:

I was so floored by what happened..I was telling the kids and breaking down in tears, and calling my husband with the wonderful news - I even called the lady at the insurance company that had "rejected" our roof to tell her the good news, and she said the story "made her day."  I just wanted to brag on my Good God, He deserves it so much!

well, the very next day we were having some friends over to hang out with the kids, and I shared our "miracle roof" story with the mom.  She said, you need to call my friend from church - he's a roofer.  She pulled out her phone and called him.  Of course he was in the area and came right over.  Of course he looked at the figure we had to spend and said he could lower his price a little and put on a new roof for that amount.  Of course he re-arranged his schedule so he could start sooner.  

And of course, we had a completely new roof only 2 DAYS after the insurance adjustor handed me the check to pay for it!  Wow!  When God does something, He does it right and well!  Things can seem so impossible, yet what's hard to us is so EASY to God.  Our problems real and they are so terrible.  Yet He is SO big.  My Daddy-God can do anything!

I love how He gave us this roof, and it was a complete grace gift.  I wasn't praying long prayers and fasting and believing for a roof.  I wasn't having the most spiritual walk of my life right now.  I wasn't going out winning souls daily for Christ or having some amazing ministry or anything.  We got something for FREE that we didn't deserve, and that's the beauty of grace:  you don't have to be worthy of the gift!  The Giver gives because He loves us, because that's who He is, GRACE,  and He gives based on His love and His worthiness and the worthiness of His Son and His Son's work!  I love Him so much!

To be continued..

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Tale of the Poor Old Roof, Part 3

I'm picking up my long-winded story where we left off...

Well, this Monday, the adjustor from the old insurance company finally came out to look at the roof.  He spent about 2 minutes up there and I thought, this is a waste of his time, he's surely going to say our roof has no damage, etc.  It just seemed so outlandish, because to hubby and I it looks fine. My hubby had even gone up there and said he didn't see anything wrong.  

But the adjustor guy finished his short inspection and said, you have major storm damage and some hail damage to your roof, and the insurance company is going to have to pay for a new roof for you - !!!  Can you believe this company that doesn't even insure us anymore is giving us a new roof??  And within five minutes he was handing me a check to pay for a new roof for our home!  

Wow!  The prayer request was answered exactly to the letter - we are getting a new roof for free!

I have to tell you what had happened just the day before this adjustor came out and told us we had hail damage and that we'd get the roof replace - just the day before, we had gotten so low on money this month, that my husband had sent me to the grocery store with a mere $50 to buy groceries for 2 weeks - for our whole family of two adults and four growing and food-loving kids.  I had added up things as I went through Walmart and had gotten the super cheap Walmart brand for everything.  The kids' snack for the coming weeks was going to have to be the $1 saltine crackers.  I was buying dry beans and bulk bags of rice, etc.  The grocery bill had come to $47 and I had been so relieved to get some things within budget.  

And then the very next day someone was handing me a check to pay for a whole new roof!

To be continued!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Tale of the Poor Old Roof, Part 2

In the last post I told how we had found out, just after cancelling our old home insurance policy, that our roof had failed the inspection for our new insurance company, and that we were facing a difficult situation.  Now to continue the tale, picking up just after the second company gave us the bad news..

So now we were going to have to somehow get a new roof in 3 weeks or go elsewhere for a new insurance policy!

BUT, something else had happened that I need to mention - the very day that the second company told us we had failed inspection, that morning I had read in TWO of my devotionals the same verse, from Phil 4:6-7 about not being anxious but presenting your requests to God, and the peace of God guarding one's heart.  I thought that was neat that God gave me that verse twice, but I remember thinking I wasn't really worried about anything.  Then an hour later I found out the bad news about our roof and said, oh, Lord,  that was what You were preparing me for!  

So I knew I wasn't to worry about this, and I even told the insurance lady about the verse and all.  So after I got off the phone I felt strangely peaceful and went to walk outside a bit.  I remembered the verse said to present your requests to God, so I said, "We need a new roof - for free!"  Haha!  It seemed like the most outlandish prayer, yet somehow there was some faith inside me about this happening - !!  Which is really big for me..

Well, I did call the old insurance company and ask them to send out an adjustor.  I felt so sheepish and foolish, for it seemed like such a crazy idea.  Several days passed and I completely forget when the adjustor was coming.  

To be continued....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Tale of the Poor Old Roof

Do you ever have times when things seem to come to such a tense point that you feel there's no solution, and things seem overwhelming?  Our family felt that way recently, and I want to share our story here over the next few posts..

So here's our tale:  

A few months ago we decided to switch to a new home insurance because it would save money.  We waited to cancel the old one for a month because we wanted to make sure we were never without insurance.  Well, a few days after the cancellation went into effect, the new company called (it was in mid-Sept when this happened) and said our home had failed their inspection because of our roof being so old and run down - and that unless we put on a new roof by Oct 19, they would not insure us!  There was NO way we could get a new roof right now, so we were suddenly going to be without insurance!  We are in financially tight times right now and there is no way we could do that!  We didn't want to go back to the old, expensive insurance, so we had to find a new one that hopefully wouldn't do as strict an inspection..  Well, amazingly, we found another company and exactly on Oct 19 they started insuring our home.  We still didn't know if we would fail THEIR inspection, too, but at least we had another chance with a different company. 

Well, during all this, the lady I talked to from the second company (the company that rejected us because of our roof) mentioned that we should have our first insurance send out someone to look at our roof to see if it had hail damage, because they would have to cover the repairs since it was under the time they insured us that the damage had been done.  My thought was, oh yeah right, our roof doesn't have any hail damage, and why would the old company that we left want to pay us any money?  We left them and aren't even insured by them anymore.  Surely they would say we had no damage and try not to pay for any repairs.  Those were my thoughts.

Could there be any hope for the family living under such a poor old roof?

To be continued...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

When I See You Smile


I don't know much about this song or the artist, but when I heard it it made me think of my relationship with Jesus and all the grace and love He brings into my life!   His smile means the world to me - just one look at His smiling face and everything is okay somehow, I can face the world again..

His smile of grace says, "Right now, as you are, in your mess or confusion or struggles, whatever it is, it doesn't matter, right now:

I accept you, 

I love you, 

I hold you, 

I uplift you, 

I am on your side, 

now and forever, 

no matter what you do or don't do, 

I'm not requiring anything of you, 

I'm so happy being in this fellowship with you 

right now and always!" 

His smile of grace lights up our world  - it's truly like a light piercing the dark and clearing away the cobwebs of confusion, doubt and fear.  
He's okay with us, He smiles at us, He delights in us - always!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grace - What a Message of Rest!

Here's a wonderful quote I read on the facebook page of Dynamic Love Ministries, actually a comment made there.  Jesus spoke peace to me through these words and ministered REST to my soul!

"I just love it when I see grace, how God wants to take care of us in everything.  Religion always puts the cart before the ox - Jesus!  Just letting God be God, just letting him be our Abba, just letting him do what he does best - to - is too much for words to accurately explain exactly what it feels like; peace beyond measure with nothing to prove to God or man.  The best thing we can do for God is to let him love us!  Thank you for your rest, Jesus!"    
                                                                                   Mark Boyce

God takes care of everything for us!

What he does best and loves to do most is just to cherish us!  God LOVES loving us!

It is peace beyond measure to know that we are in a place of real REST, with NOTHING to prove to God or man!  I love that!  Those words just ministered rest and refreshing to me....I don't have anything to prove.  Don't have to do anything or show that I'm anything. 

All is well between God and me, now and forever.  THAT is rest! 

And what a great thought that the best thing we can "do" for God is to let Him love us!

I felt God telling me recently, "I'm not asking anything from you."  He doesn't want anything from me.  He is not demanding something of me or asking anything from me.  He just wants to GIVE to me!  He is the giver and I'm the receiver of all His many blessings!  I can just relax as the waterfall of His grace, mercy and love flows over me in a Spirit wave constantly.

All He wants is to love us..

May you just feel and enjoy and be refreshed by those arms that are around you today;  He is hugging you.  He loves you.  He perfectly accepts you like noone on this earth ever can. 

We are in a safe place with grace.  A place where nothing at all is required of us.  Where all is done for us already!  All is well..peace to you and grace from God our Daddy and the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Yahweh, Let Time Pass Away As I Simply Praise You...

Oh, I love this song, it reminds me of Mary just sitting at Jesus' feet and basking in His presence and love and healing words spoken to her heart..

He is all grace and love and He is all that we need today..

I love You, Lord, You are so beautiful, so good, so sweet, so wonderful..

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

You Are the One (Jason Castro)

Looking for meaning
Looking for love
Looking for something to
Never give up
You are the one
You are the one
Looking for purpose in all
Of the pain
Looking for someone to
Hold in the rain
You are the one
You are the one

You came in my darkness
You came in my night
You came without warning
You came to my side
You are the one
You are the one
There’s no before you
There’s no too late
There’s no without you
There’s only today
You are the one
You are the one

You are life more beautiful
You are love more powerful
You are the light that always shines
You are the one
You are the song I wanna sing
You are here
You are everything
You are the light that always shines
You are the one

And I will never move on from you
Oh oh
I will never move on from you


Jason Castro

Thursday, October 6, 2011

You Reach For Me (Peter Furler)

This song has been coming to my mind often lately, and I thank God for reminding me of the wonderful truth in the lyrics.  He reaches for us even when we aren't seeming to reach for Him.  He calls us even when we sometimes don't call on Him.  His is a love that just won't let us go, that is always reaching out to us, embracing us, holding on to us, doing us good no matter what!  Wonderful grace...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Spirit's Waterfall of Grace

I wrote recently about how I had been going back under some performance thinking and feeling condemned and "not good enough."  And God in His grace and love just helped me so much and reminded me of the truth that I'm not under performance pressure (law) and that He has already made me "good enough" and even better than enough through Christ!  It has been a relief to just relax lately and know that He is not requiring or demanding anything of me.  That He is happy with me and loves me right now in the place where I am.   I need to hear the grace message EVERY SINGLE DAY, and I can't be truly happy and at peace unless I know that He's okay with me and is here with me, accepting me.  That is the bedrock of my life, the foundation upon which I function.  Without Him and His love for me, nothing else fits together.  But praise God we DO have Him and His love forever, whether we always sense it or even remember it or not.  So we are always fine in Him, secure and safe in His arms, dearly loved and cherished, accepted and acceptable, whole and perfect to Him, whether we see that or not.  He is the One who draws me back to seeing that truth.  He removes the blinders and lies and clouds that confuse me sometimes.  He pushes back the accusations of the enemy.  He clears the air with His fresh breeze of GRACE as He whispers once again to me, "I love and accept you now and forever.  You are perfect to Me.  You are beautiful to Me.  You are mine.  We will always be together and I will always love and hold you." 

One wonderful experience I had during this whole time of "crash and renewal" happened when I met with my dear friend Julie one day to talk and pray.  I love Julie so much, for she reminds me of the truth about me, the truth about who God has made me!  At one point as we talked, I was telling her about my mentality lately, and I said, "I am such a legalist."  My friend looked at me with deep intensity, with a look that went right into my soul, and she said so strongly, "You are NOT a legalist.  That is what you WERE."  Wow!  I was stopped in my tracks!  Yes, that's right, I slowly remembered.  My brain fog began to clear and I was able to say, "Right, I am a NEW creation and I'm not a legalist anymore!"  Thank You, Lord, for a friend who will tell me the truth about my identity in Christ and remind me of the good news that we are new and righteous because of Him!

I have to share another amazing moment from that meeting.  We decided to pray, and Julie began to pray for me.  She put her hand on my head and began a heartfelt prayer.  I just felt like a little baby, really, just so weak and vulnerable, needing to receive help and care.  Then as she prayed, Julie said, "I see water pouring.  I see water pouring down from the top of your head, washing all the way down your body, then going off into the gutter, washing away all the old thinking, all the legalistic thinking."  It was so wonderful!  She had this vision of God washing away all the lies and old performance-based thinking, just washing it away by His Holy Spirit's Waterfall of Grace!  And I really do feel lighter since that day, and find it easier to pray, find myself just knowing deep down that everything is okay.  I am able to rest again in Him.  I am able to know that I don't have to prove anything to anyone or look like a super-Christian.  The pressure is off.  The clouds are gone.  He really did remove some kind of oppression that day, and I am so thankful to Him!  I really wanted to share all that and just give Him praise and thanks!

I guess any of us can get confused and troubled sometimes.  The enemy tries to inject feelings and thoughts of inadequacy and being lacking and of needing to 'strive' or 'try harder.'  He tries to make us feel condemned by our failures, tells us lies.  But grace is always the answer.  God gives us a refreshing drink of grace, or maybe even a waterfall drenching of it!  He is so good to us.  He never leaves us confused.  "I will not leave you comfortless.  I will come to you." "Nevertheless I am continually with You.  You have taken me by my right hand."  The grace of God will be there for us, no matter what.  Even when we can't see Him, He can see us!  Even when we can't remember grace (now what was that truth of grace again??), He remembers!  He is still with us.  He is still holding our hand.  His grace is still carrying us!  He is still working and lifting us up, pushing away the clouds so we can see clearly again!  His grace is sufficient! No matter what, now and forever - what a wonderful God!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Remind Me Who I Am (Jason Grey)

Wow, this is an amazing song..

I am susceptible to fall to the lie of believing in who I am not, believing the lie that I am a nobody, etc.  Then I end up feeling that I am "not enough" - not good enough, not strong enough, not lovable enough.  And I seek ways to "be enough" - futile ways that lead only to failure and dead ends and condemnation.

And yet..All along that whole process I have been FINE!  I have already been made "enough" by the perfect work of Jesus!  I am ALREADY accepted, complete, whole, holy, lovable and loved!  I am already enough and will be for all eternity, because Jesus' work made me so for all eternity! 

"For by one offering He perfected forever those who are sanctified."  Heb 10:14.  You can't get any more perfect than that!  You can't be any more "enough" - than that, any more accepted or loved or right with Him.  Thank You, Jesus!

It's time for me to stop worrying about being lacking or "not enough" and to just enjoy the wonderful gift of intimate fellowship with Christ, because that's what He's brought me into.  He says I'm enough.  He says to come away from the crazy lies and look into His eyes as He calls me "Beloved."  Beloved!  Think of that!

What a relief to know who we are..

If I'm His Beloved, that's truly "enough" - that's all I've ever really wanted, all I've been searching for - Someone to love me and accept me, embrace me and delight in me, Someone to love in a deep genuine, intimate, open, secure relationship!

He is more than enough to satisfy my deepest longings to be loved, and He says I'm more than enough - that I'm His perfect and beautiful Bride!  Beloved!

I am the one Jesus loves..I am Beloved!

You are the one Jesus loves..You are Beloved!

We are the ones Jesus loves..We are Beloved!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wonderful Quote from Sammy Bilyeu

Here's a wonderful quote I read on the Facebook page of Sammy Bilyeu (his page is called Grace, Life, Now!).  It's exactly what I need to hear right now (and always!) and exactly the message I want to share with this world..

"God is at peace with you!

He loves you and you're okay with Him.

He has given you peace.

He has paid for your perfect standing with Him.

Come to Him boldly, He is smiling to you with open arms ready to embrace you and kiss you...

That's our Heavenly Father.."

                                                                                         Sammy Bilyeu

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dance With Me

He seems to be calling me to just rest..

Not to try, not to strive..

But just to rest in His arms..

Just to let Him romance me..

Just to look into His eyes of love..

Just to enjoy the Dance with Him..

Just to be caught up in His tenderness and grace all over again..

He reminds me that nothing is required of me..

I can rest in His arms today..

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Who I Am In Christ: A Great List

Recently, my dear friend Julie encouraged me by sending me a list she had compiled of confessions to make about our identity in Christ.  I want to renew my mind on the wonderful truth of who I am in Him, and this list is great for doing that!  It's a great list of statements and verse references, and she graciously has allowed me to reproduce it here.  (If you would like to visit the ministry website that Julie and her husband have, here's the link:  Harvest International Ministry

Who I Am in Christ

I am a servant of Jesus Christ.   Romans 1:1
I am set apart for the gospel.     Romans 1:1
I am blessed because my sins are forgiven.       Romans 4:7
I am justified by faith and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.     Romans 5:1
I am reconciled to God.     Romans 5:11
I am alive to God in Christ.     Romans 6:11
I am set free from sin.    Romans 8:18
I am under no condemnation.     Romans 8:1
I am controlled by the Spirit.     Romans 8:9
My spirit is alive because of righteousness.    Romans 8:10
I am a son/daughter, so I received a Spirit of Sonship.    Romans 8:15
I am an heir of God and co-heirs with Christ.    Romans 8:17
I am God’s child.     Romans 8:16
I am predestined, I am called, I am justified, I am glorified.     Romans 8:30
I am more than a conqueror.     Romans 8:37
I am Abraham’s seed and an heir.    Galatians 3:29
I am redeemed so I’ve received the full rights as sons.      Galatians 4:5
I am a son and because I am a son, I am an heir. (Everything God has is mine.)     Galatians 4:7
I am saved & called.     2 Timothy 1:9
I am appointed a herald, an apostle & a teacher.         2 Timothy 1:11     
I am prosperous & successful.     Joshua 1:8
I am loved by God the Father & kept by Jesus Christ.     Jude 1:1
I am faithful.     3 John 1:5
I am a witness.     Acts 1:8
I am filled with the Holy Spirit.    Acts 2:4
I am made alive.     I Corinthians 15:22
I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.    Ephesians 1:3
I am holy & blameless.    Ephesians 1:4
I am a priest of the Lord.    Isaiah 61:6, 7
I am a minister of our God.       Isaiah 61:6, 7
I am wise because I win souls.    Pr. 11:30
I am anointed.    2 Cor. 1:21   
I am the aroma of Christ.    2 Cor. 2:15
I am set apart. I am ordained by God.    Jeremiah 1:5
I am marked with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.    Eph. 1:13
I am seated with Him in heavenly realms.    Eph. 2:6
I am God’s workmanship.     Eph. 2:10
I am an heir together (w/ Israel)  in Jesus.     Eph. 3:6
I am an apostle.     Eph. 4:11
I am light in the Lord.     Eph. 5:8
I am always in God’s love.    Romans 8:39
I am a citizen of heaven.    Php. 3:20
I am richly blessed because I called on Him.     Romans 10:12
I am sanctified.    I Cor. 1:2 
I am enriched in every way.    I Cor. 1:5
I am the salt of the earth.    Mt. 5:13
I am the light of the world.     Mt. 5:14
I am strengthened and encouraged in my faith.     I Thess. 3:2
I am chosen.    I Thess. 1:4
I am approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.     I Thess. 2:4
I am appointed a herald and an apostle.    I Tim. 2:7
I am holy & faithful.    Col. 1:2
I am a faithful minister.    Col. 1:7
I am alive with Christ.    Col. 2:13
I am God’s chosen (people).     Col. 3:12
I am holy & dearly loved.     Col. 3:12
I am rescued from sins.    Gal. 1:4
I am set apart and am called to preach Him.    Gal. 1:15
I am blessed along with Abraham.    Gal. 3:9
I live by faith.    Gal. 3:11
I am redeemed from the curse.    Gal. 3:13

Harvest International Ministry, Inc. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Special Verse God Gave Me Recently

I went through a slump recently, just getting into some "performance" thinking, imagining I needed to do more or be more to really be a "good Christian."  I was into the comparing game, examining myself in comparison with other people and feeling I came up short in many areas.  This led to feelings of self-condemnation and withdrawal from spiritual thoughts.

And there in my muck, God ministered to me.  He reminded me of such wonderful truths.  He healed my thinking and threw out the lies of the enemy!

Here are some words He shared with me through a friend:  "God has no agenda for you today.  He has no expectations of you.  There is no  - as in zero  - condemnation.  Jesus smiles and laughs because He is so in love with you.  He loves you no matter what you do."

God gave me a beautiful verse from Luke 15 that spoke directly to my needs.  I had needed to know from God that He was still around, still loving me and being with me even though I felt like a failure.  And I needed to know that I wasn't lacking or inadequate, because I kept comparing myself to others and feeling so much "less."  He gave me a verse that was perfect for me in dealing with these troubling thoughts (thoughts which were lies from the enemy, by the way!):

Son (Daughter), you are always with me, and all that I have is yours."

Wow..First He calls me daughter..this makes me feel special and wanted.  I love how God jumps over the faults and troubles and doubts which SEEM so big to us, and He goes right to our hearts and ministers LOVE.  He ministers to our real need.  When we get confused or whatever, He never sees our sins (it's been dealt with at the cross already!) - He sees His dear child who needs to be held and loved and reassured!  He is so tender with us!  I love how He continually delights in us!

Then He assures me that I'm ALWAYS with Him, no matter what my behavior, no matter how many times I get caught in the same tired legalistic lies, no matter whether I prayed this morning or not...He is still here with me and I am still with Him!  He hasn't left me because my performance wasn't so great.  He is committed to me and sticks with me, no matter what.  I love the STABILITY of our relationship!  I read a verse about that, it said, "My only hope is in Your steadfast love and faithfulness."  He won't let me down - He will keep on loving me and being faithful to stay with me!

And He says that ALL that He has is MINE!  I have such a rich inheritance, really have EVERYTHING in Christ!  ALL of Christ is in me and mine!  HE Himself is my peace, joy, hope, victory, strength, love, etc.  Talk about adequacy!  As it says in the Bible, "our adequacy is in Christ."  Having Him, I have all the Father has to give, and it's wonderful.  I'm not lacking or less than any other person.

When we end up in the gutter because of our confusion at the enemy's lies/attacks, God in grace is down there in the gutter with us, and He lifts us up out of the gutter!  We were only in trouble in our mind, we were always free and safe in His arms, we just had a momentary memory glitch!  He brings our minds back to clarity that all is well, and that during that whole time of confusion, He was right there with us, loving us, working to bring us to see the truth again!

I thank God for ministering GRACE to me in my confusion!  He is so good..

Saturday, September 3, 2011

God the Lavish Giver

I was talking with a friend recently about how God always gives, always loves, always has more beautiful things to show us about Himself, more, more, more!  He just wants to lavish His love on us!  The image came to me of a daddy who just can't wait to grab hold of his little child and give that child hugs and kisses.  Or see that child open up the gifts he has brought for him, just anticipating the look of excitement and happiness in his little one's eyes when the gift is opened.

What a wonderful Father God we have, who always wants to lavish His love on us!  And nothing is required of us, nothing is expected of us, nothing is demanded of us..we can just sit on our Father's lap and enjoy His loving attention.

It touches me so much to know that God wants, actually wants to be with me, to just hang out with me.  He loves each one of us exclusively yet equally - a mystery to me, yet so wonderfully true:  He loves each of us the best, the most, the greatest, as if we were His favorite and the only one in His vision.  Yet he loves all of us that way.  We are each His favorite and His first choice.  We are each loved exclusively and uniquely, in a way that is just between the individual and Him.  Wow!  We can each say we are the apple of His eye, the favored child sitting on His lap, the joy of His heart.  We can each declare that we are in His favor and love and delight at all times!  That we are cherished and adored, held and safe!

He is a good God, and He is ONLY a good God, never bad or harsh!  God doesn't give bad things!  God only gives good gifts, and every good gift we receive is from Him.  He has so many gifts He has already given us in Christ, and we simply 'see' they are ours with the eyes of faith and so receive and claim and enjoy them as our own.  That is how He is helping me understand it right now. 

Thank You, God, that You are a Giver and that You love to lavish all Your love and joy and gifts on us, Your dear, favored, beloved children!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Third Day - Call My Name and I'll Be There

God has had this song on my mind lately, and it's played twice in the car recently and just seems so appropriate right now.  I have been feeling a little unloved, a little condemned, slipping under some law thinking and comparing myself to other Christians, feeling I didn't measure up.  It's such a joyous relief to know we're loved no matter what, and that He's always right here with us.  There is never any distance between us and God.  He keeps this relationship going, and He keeps us perfectly loved and accepted before Him in Jesus' precious work and name!  The love He has for us is so alive, as the song's a love that causes rest, peace and joy to flow.  It's a love that gives new hope and banishes despair.  It's a love that erases fear and doubt and makes everything clear again.  It's a love - and a Lover - that won't leave us or forsake us, ever..

It's been so long since
You felt like you were loved
So what went wrong
But do you know
There's a place where you belong
Here in My Arms

When you feel like you're alone in your sadness
It seems like no one else in this whole world cares
And you want to get away from the madness
You just call My name and I'll be there
You just call My name and I'll be there 

The pain inside
Has erased your hope for love
Soon you will find
That I'll give you all
That your heart could ever want
And so much more

When you feel like you're alone in your sadness
It seems like no one else in this whole world cares
And you want to get away from the madness
You just call My name and I'll be there
You just call My name and I'll be there

You just call My name
You just call My name
Call My name say it now
I want you to never doubt
The love I have for you is so alive
Call My name say it now
I want you to never doubt
The love I have for you is so alive 
You just call My name
You just call My name

The love I have for you is so alive

You just call My name                                    Third Day

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wonderful Words from Bertie Brits

"Any verse in the Bible - even in the New Testament written by Paul - that does not reveal GRACE (effortless life) is simply misunderstood.  Any scripture that is seen as something that we need to do to contribute to HIS work is MISUNDERSTOOD.  don't be blinded by a scripture that seems to contradict the simple Gospel of HIS LIFE IN YOU AND THROUGH YOU FREELY.  If it is not effortless it is flesh."                                                                                  Bertie Brits

Wow, I love that!  I have been confused by certain scriptures in the past, coming as I did from a more performance-oriented background.  I had probably put 'works' and 'effort' and 'should' and 'must' into verses because of my legalistic perceptions.  What a relief to know that God is gracious and loving, and that even the scriptures I don't understand will eventually become clear in the light of GRACE! 

It helps me to know that if I read the scriptures and feel condemned, tense, pressured, and wanting to focus on self-effort, I must be confused, because His Word of Grace is always life-giving and liberating, joyful and releasing!  His Word of Grace always frees and lifts us rather than depressing and crushing us.  His Word of Grace always points to Jesus, not us.  His Word of Grace lifts off burdens rather than putting on burdens!  His Word of Grace is always life and healing, not death and despair. 

Grace is the New Covenant that we are in, the ministry of the Spirit and of Life, so we can interpret every scripture through the lens of grace and His Life, not law and our works which are a dead-end.  As Bertie says so well, "If if is not effortless it is flesh."  It's all about His work in and through me while I rest.  What a blessed relief for someone who gets worn out trying to do enough, be enough, change enough, measure up nauseum!

Thank You, Lord, that the Gospel is all about Christ living in me FREELY through the Holy Spirit !  Oh, how I need to hear that today and just lean back in Your arms and REST!  Thank You that when we get caught up in the "doings" at times, we can just STOP and fall back into the arms that never let go of us for a minute!  Thank You for loving and delighting in us at all times, whether we're basking in Your presence or confused and troubled or even on a wearying flesh-trip.  Thank You that You are unwavering in pouring out Your life and love and Spirit in us!  You are a river in us that never, never, NEVER runs dry!  Amen..

Friday, August 26, 2011

Servant or Son?

Here is a wonderful article by my dear friend Patty, someone who loves God and loves His grace!
I loved this so much and wanted to share it here, and she has kindly allowed me to share her words with all...

The story as found in Luke clearly defines grace [as being the opposite of a servant mentality] through the picture of eldest brother who is angry when his brother comes home and is met by his father's grace and a feast of celebration.
The eldest brother's attitude seems to be based on what he feels he deserves because of his efforts. "All of these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. You never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends?"

Might we be striving in all are efforts to literally live up to the name, servant of God?
Might we be thinking and feeling and living not like a family member should, but like a servant does?

The servant is accepted and appreciated on the basis of what he does, the child on the basis of who he is.

The servant starts the day anxious and worried, wondering if his work will really please the master. The child rests in the secure love of his family.

The servant is accepted because of his workmanship, the son or daughter because of a relationship.

The servant is accepted because of his productivity and accomplishment. The child belongs because of his position as a member of the family.

At the end of the day, the servant has peace of mind only if he is sure he has proven his worth by the work that he has done. The next morning his stress and anxiety will begin again. The child can be secure all day, and know that tomorrow won't change his standing as a beloved family member.

When a servant fails, his whole position is at stake, he might lose his job. When a child fails, he will be grieved because he has hurt his parents and will be corrected and disciplined but he is not afraid of being rejected by them. His confidence is in the belonging and being loved and his performance does not change the stability of his position in the family.

Grace then is unearned belonging. To grasp this view of belonging (because of complete acceptance and total unconditional love), will correct a faulty way of thinking, feeling, acting, reacting and relating in life.

So let us thank the Lord above for the miracle of GRACE. May he help us each to stop living as servants, while keeping us ever willing to serve him and others. May we know the difference and begin to esteem ourselves the rightful position as children of the most high God. May we be reminded daily that we are sons and daughters and may he help us live and feel that we are loved and accepted, that we are forgiven for our sins, no matter what, because of Christ's provision for us to become members of God's family as a direct heir of God through Christ! And lastly may God give us each increased confidence in this newly understood position of grace.               (by my friend Patty)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When Attacked by Those Nasty Lies..

Sometimes I wish I would get to the point where I have it all together - haha!  That isn't going to happen anytime soon!  At least I wish I could get a firm grip on grace and not sometimes slip back into that awful performance thinking - aargh!  I really have needed a big dose of grace and love and acceptance in my life lately, as I have been down and feeling condemned about a certain aspect of my life.  In my case, it's my lack of ability to be consistent in intercessory prayer like I "want" to be.  But really, any work or struggle will suffice to be used by Satan to accuse us when we fall short..

Does anybody else identify with this scenario:  You see another Christian who is so vibrant and alive and thriving in a certain aspect of their Christian life (for me, enter the intercessory prayer warrior).  A tiny, little, seemingly harmless thought pops in the mind - "I really should do that too" - for me, it was about praying for other people more.  So you start to "try" to add in that Christian virtue (notice the focus on self-effort, oh-so-subtle!  It's like we're putting ourselves back under law without even realizing it - ugh!)  Then the inevitable failure.  (I forget to pray for people that I said I would pray for!  I go for days without interceding for anyone, even myself!  I feel like a rotten excuse for a prayer warrior!  I try to think, well, maybe this just isn't "my" kind of ministry - but it's too late, I've already agreed to help lead the intercessory prayer chain group at church!  ARGH!  Sadly, this is all a true story..)

Next comes the inevitable attack..the enemy with his lies..."See, you are a rotten Christian.  A hypocrite, too!  You failure!  Surely God's displeased with you, disappointed.  Can't you do any better than that?  You are hopeless as a Christian, just what was suspected all along.  Don't go crawling to God now, why would He want you around?  You've fallen from your strong walk in God and would have to work too hard to get back to that position of growth and closeness with God.  So why try?  Give up.  Run the other way.  Drown your sad and sorry feelings in meaningless hobbies.  Withdraw from other Christians because they are better than you anyways and will probably judge you if you admit your struggles.  You are such a loser, just like you always feared.."

It hurts even to write that because so many of those lies have been thrown at me at times.  And they are ALL lies!   God told me recently a very simple thing:  "Stand on the Word."  What the devil says and what feelings say and what other people say isn't the Word.  The Word is what GOD says, and that's the final authority, the truth, and the last word on the matter!  God is teaching me all over again, as He washes over me in grace and acceptance, what His Word really says:

The Word says:  "You are accepted in the Beloved."  (Eph. 1:6)

The Word says:  "You are called a son/daughter of God - that is what you are!"  (1 John 3:1)

The Word says:  "Noone can snatch you out of My hand."  (John 10:28)

The Word says:  "God is not counting your sins against you!"  (2 Co. 5:19)

The Word says:  "You are not under law but under grace!"  (Rom. 6:14)

The Word says:  "There is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!"  (Rom. 8:1)

The Word says:  "The law of the Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death!  (Rom. 8:2)

The Word says:  "He that the Son sets free is free indeed!"  (John 8:36)

The Word says:  "I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy.  (Lk. 10:19)

The Word says:  "You are more than conquerors through Him who loved you!  (Rom. 8:37)

The Word says:  "NOTHING shall separate you from His love! (Rom. 8:38-9)

The Word says:  "You have been set right with God as a free gift through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ! (Rom. 3:24)

The Word says:  "You are the righteousness OF GOD in Christ!"  (2 Corin. 5:21)

The Word says:  "You are a new creation.  Old things have passed away, and ALL things have become NEW!"  (2 Corin. 5:17)

The Word says:  "I will NEVER leave you or forsake you!"  (Heb. 13:5)

Wow, I love it!  So God is reminding me that when the enemy tries to pull the old "you're under a set of performance rules, and if you fail you're condemned," that I can remember the truth that hasn't changed, no matter how my feelings waver:  I am still as accepted and loved and cherished as ever.  I am NOT under a set of performance rules.  God isn't looking down at me to see how I'm measuring up or not.  He is looking at me with intense love for His little child.  He is holding me in His arms and won't let go.  Nothing can stop His love from coming to me, not even my sin - my sin has been removed and is gone, never to be held against me again!  I'm not under law (earn acceptance or else be punished), no!  I am under grace (He accepts me already without any having to earn it, so receive acceptance for free!)

And in my case, even if I never become a prayer warrior like my friend, I am still 100% fine and accepted and SUCCESSFUL as a Christian right now, because I've been accepted through the work of the Son!  I've been born again by grace through simple faith, just believing the gospel of grace (the good news that God has reconciled me to Him in Christ).  I'm a new creation in Him.  I don't have to do anything to earn an acceptance that is already mine by BIRTHRIGHT!  Always His child!  Always innocent in His sight!  Always pure and holy and clean!  Always cherished and beautiful in His eyes!  Always a DELIGHT to Him!  Always, forever, once-for-all, for sure, perfectly and completely taken in, included and ACCEPTED!  Belonging with Him for always!  THAT'S living by faith, walking by the Spirit, being built up in Him..

Thank You, Lord, for defeating the lies that attack my mind!  Thank You for showing me the condemnation I sometimes FEEL isn't even REAL!  Lift off every lie that may be clouding our vision and perception right now.  Let us clearly see You in all Your glorious grace and love for us!  Let us see how perfect that love really is, how wonderful and freely ours, how eternally and permanently ours!  Thank You so much for who You are - the Purest, Truest, Best, most Amazing LOVE in this universe, a Love that is Pure Grace from start to finish!  We love You, O Lord!

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