Sunday, February 27, 2011

God Surprises Us With His Love

Here's a neat story to go along with the song I posted yesterday, "You're Beautiful:"

My daughter really likes this song.  She is the one who got me to pay more attention to the words and see what a wonderful message this song contains.  I loved the grace message in the song and decided to post it to the blog.  Yesterday after the song posted, my daughter came to me telling me she had had "a spiritual experience."  She said she had been feeling moody, and that she felt God was asking her to turn on the radio.  She didn't really want to listen to the radio right then, but she reached over and turned it on anyway, and the chorus from this song, "You're Beautiful," was playing!  It was playing as a love message from God to her!

I love that!  I love how He likes to surprise us with His love, or as I've heard one writer say, to "break through our world to bring us flowers."  And I love the grace message in that experience she had.  She was in a bad mood.  She was not being super spiritual.  And that was the moment God chose to say, "You're beautiful!"

I think it illustrates so well that our beauty in His eyes is NEVER determined by how we act, think, or feel.  It's based on the work of Jesus for us and on His own heart of love.  I love how we can rant and rave and act dumb and even seem to lose our way, and we're still just as held, loved, accepted and beautiful as ever.  Our acceptance before Him never changes with our changing performance!  It's as solid as the work of the cross, and that's like eternal bedrock underneath our feet!  I can't remember where I read this quote, but it illustrates this truth so well:  "Grace is when you can act stupid in the morning and get blessed in the afternoon!"

Isn't Jesus the best thing going?  For me, it is like Christianity just gets better and better the more I experience of Him.  He is so deep, and the deeper He plunges us into experiencing Him, the deeper we see His love and grace reaches.  Wow!  He truly IS an "ocean depth of happy rest," as the old song says.

I think my favorite thing lately is how He constantly delights in us!  I have my own share of issues and problems, but they don't seem very troublesome to God.  He doesn't seem to mind in the least that I don't have my Christian understanding all worked out or that I haven't stopped every single wrong behavior.  He just delights in me!  His Spirit in us springs up in delight and joy - He is happy with us and rejoices over us with singing!

Thank You, Lord, for Your love and delight in us!  Thank You that the presence of Your Spirit within is a constant reminder that we're accepted and delightful and BEAUTIFUL to You!  And You are so BEAUTIFUL to us, dear Lord!

                           With love to all,


Saturday, February 26, 2011

You're Beautiful

It's always been hard for me to say I'm beautiful.  I mean, really, in the natural looks department, there isn't much there...

Yet He says I'm beautiful!  That we all are!

I'm just beginning to be able to see it and say it, by the power of the Spirit in me. It feels like I am a flower just beginning to open.  Or a little sparrow just about to fly!

Maybe I can like myself.  Maybe I can be happy with me.  Maybe I really do have something beautiful to offer this world - I have a heart full of Him to offer, and that is beautiful!


Days will come when you don't have the strength
When all you hear is you're not worth anything
Wondering if you ever could be loved
And if they truly saw your heart, they'd see too much

You're beautiful
You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful
You're beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are his
You're beautiful

Praying that you have the heart to fight
"Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight
For all the lies you've held inside so long
They are nothing in the shadow of the cross

You're beautiful
You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful
You're beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are his
You're beautiful.

Before you ever took a breath
Long before the world began
Of all the wonders He possessed
There was one more precious
Of all the earth and skies above
You're the one He madly loves enough to die

You're beautiful
You're beautiful in His eyes
                                                                                   Mercy Me

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Love the One that God Loves

"It's alright to love who God loves - you!"  'Elaine'

"God told them, "I've never quit loving you and never will.
   Expect love, love, and more love!"  Jer. 31:3

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How Could He Give Us Up? He Couldn't!

The nature of God, the very essence of His being, is Eternal Love.  He is 100% Love.  This Love is stronger than anything.  This love tells us we are SAFE with Him!

There is NO WAY on earth or heaven that He is going to give us up!  There is NO WAY He is going to reject us or let us go!  His whole being churns against such a thought.  To let us go would be to rip out His own heart.

We aren't able to get rid of this Love!  We just can't shake Him!  We can't get rid of this God!  If we have a sinfest, He is there.  If we rant and rave at Him in our pain, He is there.  If we are troubled by doubt, confused by lies, shrouded in despair, He is there.  If we make our bed in our own private hell, HE IS THERE!  Nothing we do or don't do will ever cause Him to reject us.  He promised, "I will NEVER leave you or forsake you!"  (Heb. 11:5)

Our God just can't live without us.  He even came in the flesh died to bring us back home to Him.  Do you think He is ever going to let us out of His sight, out of His care, out of His arms again?

But how can I give up on you, Ephraim?
   How can I turn you loose, Israel?
How can I leave you to be ruined ..devastated...
I can't bear to even think such thoughts.
   My insides churn in protest.  (Hos. 11:8)

Can a mother forget the infant at her breast,
   walk away from the baby she bore?
But even if mothers forget,
   I'd never forget you—never.  (Is. 49:15)

His love just will not let us go!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

No Grudges

"God, unlike us, holds no grudges when we fail to obey.  His only desire is to help us."                                           Catherine Marshall

I read this in a book recently and it ministered to me so much.  When we fail, when we ignore what our true heart, the Spirit deep within, is speaking, trying on our own instead of depending/trusting on His Spirit to work, does God sit up there on His throne and say, "I told you so!  I told you this disaster would happen if you didn't follow My nudging!  You made this mess, now you'll just have to fix it yourself - I sure won't help you.." ??


Perfect Love doesn't act like that!  Even a good earthly parent wouldn't act like that with a child!  Sure, my kids don't always listen to me.  They don't always do as is best.  But as a good parent I want to be there for them even in their failures.  I want to help them get up and regain their sense of dignity.  I want to help them recover, help them get back on track.  I want to encourage them and not kill their spirit.  Wouldn't God do the same?  Yes!

When I see, really see, my children, I don't see their failures, I see beautiful little people that I love and would do anything to help.  I know God, the infinitely better Parent, sees us the same way.  Well, come to think of it, actually He sees us in an even better way.  Christ took away our sins at the cross, so there's no sin there left to see!  He doesn't just look past our sin to the person inside, no, He has actually wiped away that sin on the cross and it is GONE!  God says He will remember them NO MORE!  When He looks at us, He sees His beautiful little children that He loves and would do anything to help.

So many times when I seem to go off into worry, irritation, a bad mood, selfishness (just naming my particular struggles), I feel just rotten that I've failed again.  Yet He is always right there accepting and helping!  He is there reassuring me, picking me up, loving me, letting me know His opinion of me hasn't changed one bit!  Not only does the Holy Spirit NOT convict us of sin, but He also DOES convict us of our righteousness (Christ's very righteousness given to us!), and He seems to do it so beautifully with me right when I need it most - right after I sin!  He is there for me, right after I fall on my face, DELIGHTING in me and singing over me with joy!

I think grace shines forth ever more brightly in the midst of our failures.  That's when we can see and understand His grace even more clearly, because if He accepts us after our worst failure, He REALLY DOES accept us totally!  

I love how we can go on with God even from failures because even when we fail, our relationship doesn't change one bit!  Our relationship is so solid, because it isn't built on our changing performance but on Christ's perfect performance and God's perfect heart of love!

Friday, February 18, 2011

John Lynch on Jesus

I read this quote by John Lynch over a year ago on the True-Faced blog  (I tried to find the exact post, but couldn't), and I love the way he describes relationship with Jesus.  Here's the quote:
  • "Jesus was the first to display the love my heart was desperately hoping was possible
  • Jesus was the first to bring my heart alive, to bring me delight
  • Jesus was the first to convince me He knew the worst about me and adored me still
  • Jesus was the first person I ever felt fully protected by
  • Jesus was the first person who ever made sense of life
  • Jesus was the first to convince me life could have a happy ending
  • Jesus was the first to convince me my life had a purpose to it
  • Jesus was the first to convince me that I was a new creature
  • Jesus was the first person I ever felt completely known by
  • Jesus was the first person I ever felt completely safe with
  • Jesus was the first person who ever showed me purity/goodness
  • Jesus is the first one I ever laid my soul bare to
  • Jesus is the one who’s love caused me to risk loving, trusting, being loved by another
  • Jesus is the One who convinced my heart I could be vulnerable
  • Jesus is the One who convinced my heart I could forgive, let go of.
  • Jesus is the One who convinced my heart I could reconcile and confess my wrong
  • Jesus is the One who convinced my heart I can give my life away
  • Jesus is the one place in the entire universe where I feel truly home

“Immanuel”-God in me, God with me, God next to me, God protecting me, God defending me, God loving me, God enjoying me, God over me, God through me, God for me, God from me, God defining me, God with His arm around me."
                                                                                                            John Lynch

Thank You,Lord Jesus, for being the Friend we have always longed for all our lives.  Thank You for the healing you have brought to our hearts.  Thank You for loving us unconditionally and accepting us without any reservations.  Thank You for being Immanuel, God with us - we are never alone again!  Thank You for walking through this life with us a our Dearest Friend!  Amen.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

His Delight

Have you ever thought of what would delight God?

Our perfect works?

Our great understanding?

Our theological prowess?

These are some of the things I have tried to have in order to make God happy, and yet...

And yet the Bible shows me what actually delights Him, what makes Him happy and pleased:

God is happy with what He made - US!

He delights in us, His children, just the way we are, with our quirks, our weirdness, our uniqueness..

"...the LORD delights in you.."  Is. 62:4b

Monday, February 14, 2011

Can't Help Falling In Love With You

Here's a love song from Jesus to us and us back to Him!

He can't help falling in love with us!  We're irresistible to Him, and He just can't stop Himself from loving us.  His love for us pours out of every inch of His being.

He's given us not just His hand to walk through life with us, but also His whole life to be ours within our hearts. We have the most perfect intimacy with Him, a sharing of hearts and lives, complete openness and complete acceptance. We have the love we have wanted and longed for all our lives.  A love that is unconditional.  A love that is so beautiful it can't be described!

We don't have to feel ashamed in His presence or feel we're unclean or unworthy to approach Him.  We are forever His beautiful and pure and lovely bride.  Jesus' own work has made that true forever, for by the cross He has gotten rid of everything that would have held us back in shame from Him.

This love is as sure as the river flowing to the sea.  This love was meant to be.

And now that we're together, nothing can ever tear us apart.  This love is forever!

Wise men said, "Only fools rush in"
But I can't help falling in love with you

Shall I stay?
Would it be a sin
If I can't help falling in love with you

Like a river flows
Surely to the sea
Darling, so it goes
Some things are meant to be

Take my hand
Take my whole life, too
For I can't help falling in love with you
Like a river flows
Surely to the sea
Darling, so it goes
Some things are meant to be

Take my hand
Take my whole life, too
For I can't help falling in love with you

For I can't help falling in love with you
                                                                                                            Elvis Presley

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sittin' Pretty

It's both comforting and mind-blowing to think about the truth that we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places, as the following verse says:

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus"(Ephesians 2:4-6).

Steve McVey tells a story about this passage of scripture:

Harry Ironside, a great preacher of the early 20th century once had preached on this passage just before he greeted a young child after the service. “Did you enjoy the message?” Ironside asked the little boy.

“Yes, sir,” the child answered.

“What did you understand from my sermon?” Ironside asked.

“Well,” answered the boy, “I didn’t understand it all, but I learned one thing. We’re sittin’ pretty, ain’t we?”

There’s a good reason for us to have peace – in Jesus Christ,“we’re sittin’ pretty.”                                         (from Steve McVey's blog)

What a wonderful thing to ponder:  that we are already in heavenly places in Christ...

We are seated with Christ in the heavenly places.  That means that in our spirit, we are ALREADY in heaven!  Talk about eternal security!

And not only in heaven, but seated with Christ!  I don't understand all that that means, but I know it means we are in a position of victory and authority over the enemy.  We are in a place of strength and overcoming.  We are seated, which tells me the battle is over already and in Christ we're already winners.  Already overcomers!

This truth also shows me that we are not under our problems struggling to look up, but rather over our problems looking down on them with Christ's perspective!

Another thing it makes me realize: we are already complete in Him and suitable to dwell in heaven.   We are already as righteous and holy and acceptable before Him as we need to be!  We don't have to feel the need to improve but rather can learn to live out of who we already are.  The Holy Spirit will work out in our earthly lives the truth of our being seated in the heavenly places with Christ.

I love to think about where I am - safe, secure, already there, alive forever, in glory, with Christ, above all the problems and concerns of earthly life.  That makes me more ready to face my days here, knowing that as I am in Christ in heaven, He is in me on earth and will live out my life through me, for me, as me today!  Not only am I in heaven with Him today, I have heaven with me on earth today!  All the resources of heaven are here for me in this day with all that I am going through!  Wow!

In Christ, we are truly "sittin' pretty!"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Prayer Under Grace

I think my thoughts on prayer keep changing as I learn about His grace and love.  I have lived so legalistically in the past that my prayer times were mostly work - my work, my effort, my trying to get "right" with God (for I always felt pretty sinful and guilty), my trying to get close to Him.  I would make commitments (always quickly broken) to pray for 30 minutes or to keep a list of prayer requests or etc.  These aren't bad things at all, but I made them into a law and felt I "must" do them.  I think Steve McVey talks about this idea:  he says that we wouldn't ever imagine saying to our spouse that we've committed to talk to them 30 minutes a day (as if that's all they get!) sounds like we're having to force ourselves to talk to the person!  Yet that was how I treated my prayer time with God.

So how do I see prayer differently now?

Well, under law, prayer was a burden that I must do to feel like a good Christian.  Under grace, it's something I am completely free to do (or not do), and truly something I find I want and am drawn to.

Under law, prayer was a work I did.  Under grace, prayer is the gift of communion with Him.

Under law, I felt condemned and unable to approach God until I somehow "got right" with God again by confessing, begging for forgiveness, and "really" rededicating myself to God "this time."  Under grace, God shows me I can hop in Daddy's lap and talk to Him anytime, because I am completely right and acceptable in His sight 24/7 through the finished work of Christ!

Under law, it was up to me to somehow get God to answer my prayers.  Under grace, it is the Spirit of God who inspires my prayers, prays through me, and answers as I watch!

Under law, intercession was a bit of a chore, just reading through a list of names.  Under grace, intercession is flowing with the Spirit as He reveals who and what to pray for and makes me know He's at work - it's like He's inviting me along as He works in people's lives.

Under law, prayer could make me tired, especially if I didn't get the good feeling I'd hoped to get after all that praying.  Under grace, prayer is rejuvenating.

Under law, I felt ashamed of my sin, distant from God and thus hesitant to pray.  Under grace, His total acceptance lets gives me confidence to be open with Him about my struggles and be able to see how He will act to bring His victory to light in those areas.

Under law, my worries and fears made me run from Him and feel ashamed for having such thoughts.  Under grace, His love and acceptance draw me to bring my worries and fears to Him for Him to lift off as He reminds me of His truth.

Under law, prayer was mostly trying to get back on God's good side.  Under grace, prayer is relaxing in the arms of the God who has no bad side - I am always on His good side, and that's a safe place to be.  It's a safe place to open up, be real, talk about what's bothering me, share my feelings and hurts and even cry a little (or a lot), rant and rave, and know that He will always accept and help me.

Under law, prayer felt like trying to get close to a cold, hard Deity.  Under grace, prayer feels like talking to my Best Friend or the Best Father in the World.  The Spirit within me, as the administrator of the new covenant, is the Spirit of prayer who cries out "Abba, Father" from within me, impressing upon me the intimate, secure relationship I have with God.

I guess that sums it up!  Grace means we're in His favor, and because of His grace it's safe to open up and share with Him, safe to talk to Him about anything, safe to ask Him for whatever is on your heart and know that He will answer out of all His goodness.

I'm still learning a lot about prayer and God is still removing a lot of the legalistic ideas I've had about it.

But I am so glad to be able to talk to Him, my dearest Friend, and know that He will never turn me away, be disappointed in me, or refuse to fellowship with me.  We can be completely honest with Him and still know that we are still loved, accepted, and kept by Him!  It boggles my mind to realize that we were created for this fellowship and communion with Him, that He actually loves that interaction with us!   That He delights in our company!

Thank You, Lord, for being our Best Friend...

                                  With love to all from

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Letter to a Friend

You, my friend, are held in the arms that won't ever let you go.  You are sealed unto the day of redemption by the wonderful Holy Spirit, and sealing means He locks in all the good (His Spirit and righteousness) and locks out all the bad (anything that would try to pull you away from Him, even your own lack of faith).  So you are safe and secure!  The Holy Spirit wants to reassure you of that fact.  He assures us of our righteousness and security in His arms.
The Father loves you forever, Jesus' work on your behalf is forever, and the Spirit is in you forever to remind you of these things.  This is how much He cares for you.  He wants you to feel safe and know you can't get away from Him or His love.  Where can you go from His Spirit?  Wherever you go, He's there, for He promised that He will abide with you forever.  His Spirit and your spirit are knit together in an eternal "love knot," so there is never any more separation or parting of ways between you and Him.  The union is so profound that you two are "one spirit."  You will always be together with Him. This is how secure you are.
That wonderful Holy Spirit IS your assurance.  He is your keeper.  As you walk through this life of sun and storm,wind and waves, the Spirit of God is within and around you, protecting you in body, soul, and spirit.  Safe.  Protected.  You are held.  You don't have to worry about holding on to Him - He knows that you are dust - HE is holding on to you. 

His love for you is older than the stars.  He swore NEVER to be angry with you again, no matter whether your faith slips or even if you let fear in sometimes.  All sins have been taken away anyhow, as far as the east is from the west, and He doesn't see or think about them at all.  You are CLEAN before Him, constantly under His waterfall of grace and forgiveness.  

The presence of His Spirit in you is the reminder that He is well-pleased with you!  I know right now He is so very proud of you, His dear child.  He's smiling a proud smile over you.  He is delighted with you, not because of what you've done, but just because He loves you. 
You are so strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  You have the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and all the heavenly legions of angels on her side!  Your foe named Satan is defeated.  God isn't worried at all about any of your issues.  They are just flecks of dust to Him, and yet He is so compassionate to understand the smallest hurt or concern you have.  Tender-hearted.  100% LOVE.
This is what is on my heart to share.  I need to hear this message myself a lot, really every day. May we all be refreshed with the awareness of His loving arms holding us today...
                With love to all,


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Near and Dear to God Himself

A mind at perfect peace with God,
Oh! what a word is this!
A sinner reconciled through blood;
This, this indeed is peace!

By nature and by practice far,
How very far from God!
Yet now by grace brought nigh to Him,
Through faith in Jesus’ blood.

So near, so very near to God,
I cannot nearer be;
Yet in the person of His Son
I am as near as He.

So dear, so very dear to God,
More dear I cannot be;
The love where with He loves the Son:
Such is His love to me!

Why should I ever careful [anxious] be,
Since such as God is mine?
He watches o’er me night and day,
And tells me, "Mine is thine."

                                                Catesby Paget

I love this old hymn.  I love the way it talks about how near and dear we are to God.  
We are just as dear to Him as the Son is!  
And we are just as near to Him as the Son is!
He says to us - because of grace, because of the finished work Christ has done to reconcile us to Him - that all that is His is now ours!  "Mine is thine."  Beautiful!

Friday, February 4, 2011

You Are More

I love this song by Tenth Avenue North!

We're so much more than we think...

So much more than a bundle of choices and failures..

More than just what our circumstances dictate..

We are not identified by those things at all.

That's because in Christ we've been remade.

We are new!

He has erased our failures and sins and has re-written our identity.

He has written His identity on our hearts!

We are known as beloved, accepted, secure, righteous, and affirmed!

Our circumstances don't dictate or control us anymore.

He is over all our circumstances and we stand new in Him.

Therefore, we are more than conquerors, renewed, strong in the Lord!

We are so much more than we think!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Goal of the Christian Life

"The goal of the Christian life is not to stop sinning!  The real goal of the Christian life is knowing Christ."  Bob George

"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."  John 17:3

This reminded me of the beautiful lyrics to an old song, "One Thing I Ask," by the group Harvest -

One thing I ask of the Lord
And one thing will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All my days..
To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
And to seek Him in His temple
Where no foe can cause me harm..

One thing I ask,
One thing will I seek in this world:
Simply to know Him!

Knowing Him is the greatest treasure in life.  He is the Friend I have longed for all my days.  His love is what fills the empty places in the heart.  It's unbelievable that the God who made the universe actually lives inside!  How wonderful is our Friend Jesus!
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