What Grace Means to Me

This is what grace means to me:

Grace is the unconditional favor, acceptance, love and blessing of God freely and irrevocably given, a gift that I don't have to try to earn through my good performance and that I don't have to worry about losing through my bad performance!

Grace is what sets me free to be myself before Him, knowing He completely accepts me and is on my side to do me good!  His gracious heart toward me lets me know I can trust my Daddy to always hold me, always take care of me, always understand me, always bless me, always protect me, always be with me, no matter what!

C.S. Lewis, I think, talked about grace being "love that stoops" - I like that:  God's grace toward me is His love constantly flowing toward and over and within me, the love that seeks me out in my dark places of confusion or failure or hurt or enemy oppression, the love that is with me in my pain, and the love that lifts me up out of that pain into the Sonlight of joy, peace, freedom, release, victory, hope and enjoying all that is my birthright as His child - especially enjoying the wonder of a UNION relationship of perfect, open intimacy with my wonderful Father through work of His Son and the gift of His Spirit within me, one with my spirit!

I am known, I am delivered, I am healed, I am whole, I am accepted, I am welcomed, I am embraced, I am provided for, I am protected, I am safe, I am secure, I am free, I am righteous, I am clean, I am understood, I am enjoyed, I am befriended, I am filled, I am forgiven, I am new, I am alive, I am beautiful, I am HOME!  Home with my Daddy God forever..that is what His grace has done for me and that is what His grace means in my life!

Praise You, Lord!  Thank You, Lord, for Your matchless grace!

Secure in Christ, Part 6 - The Spirit is our Seal and Guarantee

"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory."  Eph. 1:13-4

"Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." 2 Co. 1:21-2

One of my favorite thoughts when pondering our secure position as believers is thinking on the beautiful Holy Spirit's presence in our lives.  He was given to us as a seal of our salvation and also as the guarantee of our future bodily redemption.  To me, that simply means that I'm going to make it to heaven and to being resurrected for sure, because the Holy Spirit is making sure that happens!  Just His presence within shows that it is guaranteed and set.  And Jesus promised that the Spirit would be with us forever (Jn. 14:16-7), so this is a permanent seal and guarantee that we have within us, a Someone that won't leave us and that we cannot lose!  The seal is permanent and its effects are permanent, hallelujah!

We were sealed with the Spirit - I read a couple of things that helped me understand what that means, that the Spirit seals us to the day of redemption or marks us as God's own.  The word "seal" carries with it the ideas of ownership, protection, and destination.  The Spirit is a seal, meaning is He is God's "mark" that was put on us, a mark of ownership, showing that I belong to God, that I'm an authentic, genuine Christian.  Also, He is our seal in the sense that, just as a seal on earth secures the contents of a document or package against loss or damage, the Spirit protects us against any loss or damage.  And lastly, a seal carries with it the idea of destination - it ensures that the package sent will arrive at the destination intact; that is what the Spirit does for us, for we were sealed for the day of redemption - He ensures that we will arrive safely at our heavenly destination with our glorified body (Eph.. 4:30)!

Another related idea is that of the Spirit as our guarantee.  He is called the guarantee of our inheritance in Eph. 1:14, a deposit guaranteeing what is to come (2 Co. 1:21-2).  Studying on this word "guarantee" was really interesting.  It is the word meaning "engagement ring" and is like a down payment ensuring the full payment to come.  The Spirit is our down payment, assuring us that we'll get the full inheritance in the future - the resurrection of the body and all the joys of knowing God's presence in heaven fully experienced!  It's wonderful to think that Jesus has given His Bride such an "engagement ring" - the Holy Spirit, His very Spirit within us, one with our spirit, within us as the very Eternal Life of God, abiding in us and filling us to overflowing!  The Spirit as our guarantee assures us that we'll see our Bridegroom face to face and celebrate the wonderful Marraige Supper!  What a day that will be!

Thank You, Lord, for Your Precious Holy Spirit living within us, reminding us that we really are destined for the heavenly joys of being Your Bride forever!  Thank You that the Holy Spirit is our assurance of that day to come!  Thank You that the Spirit's wonderful presence that we enjoy within us now is just a down-payment on the future complete inheritance we'll experience later of being with You in glory!  Thank You for sealing us with Your Spirit unto the day of redemption, and thank You that Your Spirit in us marks us as Your own possession, protects us from any loss, and ensures that we'll safely arrive in heaven!  Thank You for how You abide in us and we abide in You through the Spirit!  Amen..

Affirmations of God's Beloved Child!

My dear friend Julie and her husband have a daily devotion they write and post on their website, Harvest International Ministry, and this one that they posted recently was so good.  I love these affirmations of who we are in Christ!  I just love seeing the lies of the enemy ("you are worthless, you are a failure, you are shameful, you are unloved, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum!) pushed back by the TRUTH of God and His Word over us that we are Loved, Delighted In, Righteous, Alive, Free, and Spirit-controlled!  So I wanted to share their devotion here, and they've kindly given me permission:

Who I Am in Christ
Isaiah 61:6
“And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God.” 
Today I would like to share with you a wonderful list of confessions on who we are in Christ! It is so great to discover who God has made us as we are in Him and He is in us. When we realize just how powerful we are in Him, then satan can’t steal the truth from us. We won’t get down in the dumps or stuck in fear about ourselves when we’re centered on all that God’s Word declares about us. So read this list and begin to meditate on it. Ask God to give you a real revelation of the Power of Jesus that is within you!  

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

Prayer: Dear Father, I am amazed at all You’ve done for me and I praise You for it. I ask that as I meditate on these truths, that You’ll give me great revelation in Your Word, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Affirmation:  I am God’s beloved child!
                                                                       Steve and Julie Strozier
                                                                       Harvest Ministry International

"How to Have Faith, Hope and Love" from "Come! Sit With Me" Blog

I read this post/poem recently on Ming Sing's blog,  "Come! Sit With Me (http://mingsing0221.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-have-faith-hope-and-love.html) and just loved it.  I wanted to share it here.  How can we have faith, hope and love rise within us?  We know that the Spirit is all those things in us, and we know that the new heart God has put within us as new creations has faith, hope and love, so how can we see those things naturally manifest or burst forth?  I love Ming Sing's ideas on this topic:

"How to have Faith, Hope and Love"

And we have such trust through Christ toward God." 2 Corinthians 3:4 

When Christ was born and lived among men, 
we started to have faith that God is a good God, 
a compassionate Father.....again.

When we see Christ hanging on the cross,
we start to realize HOW MUCH God was willing 
to give up His only beloved Son
in order to redeem us. 
We start to believe that God really had loved us......again.

God displayed His love for us the CLEAREST 
when He sent His Son, His only Son, 
The Son that He loves to die on the cross 
for the sins of every single one from Adam 
to the last baby born on the earth.
"But God demonstrates his own love 
for us in this: 
While we were still sinners, 
Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

When we see Christ, 
we start to believe in Love again, 
because He is Love.

   "He is kind and patient,
   never jealous, boastful,
   proud, or rude.
   He isn't selfish
   or quick tempered.
   He doesn't keep a record
   of wrongs that others do.
   He rejoices in the truth,
   but not in evil.
    He is always supportive,
   loyal, hopeful,
   and trustworthy.
    Jesus never fails!"
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8a,CEV, paraphrase mine)

When we see Christ,
we start to have hope again,
we know, He will do it for us. 
And indeed, He had.
He had finished it perfectly once and for all
on the cross,
and its effect is valid until eternity! 
Truly our hope is not something wishful but 


Therefore, by seeing Christ,
we shall have faith, because He is our faith,
we shall have hope, because He is our hope,
we shall have love, which is the greatest of all
because Christ is God's Love 

Ming Sing

I really love the paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 that Ming Sing has, putting Christ in that passage and showing us that He, who is Perfect Love, is therefore all those wonderful things listed as qualities of love.  That is beautiful and that is certainly the wonderful Lord I'm coming to know more and more.  He is PURE, PERFECT, 100% unadulterated LOVE mixed with nothing else, marred by no other thing, ALWAYS, EVER and ONLY LOVE toward us!  What a relief!  We can trust this Lord because He is only going to be LOVE toward us all the days of our lives.  He is NEVER going to fail to be there for us in all His loving ways.  When we SEE HIM, we SEE LOVE and it makes faith, hope and love rise up from within our own spirits!  I love You, Jesus, and I love the revelation that You are LOVE!

"All That Jesus Is Before God, You Are" - A Joseph Prince Devotional I Really Like

Here's the devotional from Joseph Prince that I read a few days ago.  I just wanted to share it here.  It's really good;  he makes wonderful points about how two different Old Testament offerings are pictures of Jesus' offering for us.  Very encouraging!  

Here is the devotional:

2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

When an Israelite brings an animal as his sin offering, he lays his hand on it before killing it. (Leviticus 4:1–4) By laying his hand on the sin offering, his sins are transferred to the innocent animal. The animal dies for his sins and he goes free.

In contrast, during the burnt offering, when the Israelite lays his hand on the animal (Leviticus 1:3–4), the beauty, worthiness and acceptance of the unblemished animal are transferred to him. God accepts the perfection of the animal sacrifice on his behalf to make atonement for him. Because God accepts the unblemished burnt offering, the offerer now has right standing before God.

Do you know that the two offerings speak of Jesus’ one offering of Himself when He hung on the cross? He is both our sin offering and burnt offering — “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us [as our sin offering], that we might become the righteousness of God in Him [as our burnt offering]”. The moment you put your faith in Him, just by His one sacrifice, your sins were transferred to Him, and His righteousness was transferred to you. That is the grace of God toward you!

As our sin offering, He offered Himself once and for all. (Romans 6:10) The sin offering was never a daily offering because God does not want His people to be sin-conscious. However, the burnt offering was both a morning and evening sacrifice (2 Chronicles 13:11) because God wants His people to be righteousness-conscious.

Beloved, God wants you to lay claim daily to Jesus as your burnt offering and say, “Father, I thank You that Jesus is my burnt offering. All that Jesus is before You — His righteousness, excellence, beauty and perfection — has been transferred to me. Jesus has Your unclouded favor, so I enjoy Your unclouded favor in my life. Jesus is the righteousness of God, so I am the righteousness of God in Christ. As He is before You, so am I.”

Because Jesus became your burnt offering, what He is to the Father today, you are! That is what it means to be in Christ.

Thought Of The Day
All that Jesus is before the Father — His righteousness, beauty and perfection — has been transferred to you.

© Copyright Joseph Prince, 2009

Son-Conscious and Righteousness-Conscious, NOT Sin-Conscious

Sometimes I hear that tired old lie from the enemy:  "God wouldn't bless or help you because you are so sinful, sinful, sinful...just look at your faults, the wrong things you've done and are STILL doing!  You've got so many hang-ups, only when you get them all in line or at least show some effort to improve, only then is God ever going to listen to your prayers or help you! Doesn't the Bible say your sins have kept God from hearing and answering your prayers??"

Guilt, guilt, guilt.  I feel it, I see my mistakes, my irritable outbursts toward my kids, my self-centered actions (I'd rather read this book and be lazy than clean up this house),  all the ways I could improve myself and yet I haven't (I could have read the Bible instead of surfing the net for an hour), etc. etc.  If I look at myself and my behavior, I get sin-conscious and feel so low.

Yet God is so loving and kind.  He has already taken care of my sin problem at the cross, and He reminds me of that!  I think of how He reminded me of that just recently..

I was hearing those tired lies of the enemy, feeling guilty and sin-conscious, examining myself and my motives and seeing more faults than ever..and then last night I had a dream.  In this dream, I was talking to someone and they were saying, "Oh, when we sin we go out of fellowship with God and He's not going to bless us" - something along those lines.  And in the dream, I was thinking of the verse in 2 Co. 5:21 and wanting to share that with this person:  "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Or as the Phillips translation says it:  "For God caused Christ, who himself knew nothing of sin, actually to be sin for our sakes, so that in Christ we might be made good with the goodness of God."  Our sins were put on Christ and He became sin for us, and His righteousness was put on us and we became His righteousness.  Wow!

Anyway, this morning I was going to read a couple of the devotionals in my Destined to Reign Devotional book (by Joseph Prince) and so I just opened it up to read about 4 of them.  And there was a whole devotion on the verse above, 2 Co. 5:21!  It was wonderful and uplifting and just what I needed to hear!  Mr. Prince talked about how we are meant to be focused on how we are the righteousness of God in Christ and not focused on our sins, which are gone!  God said He would remember our sins NO MORE - that's an awfully long time!  And if He isn't thinking about them, then I don't need to either.  I can just rejoice that I am the righteousness of God in Christ and thus qualified to the inheritance in every way.  Through Christ we have received blessing upon blessing - He has blessed us already with "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."  That is wonderful to me!

Thank You, Lord, for reminding us that You are thinking of us as righteous in Christ, not as sinful or guilty!  Thank You, dear Lord Jesus, for the finished work You performed to make that so!  I can truly say I am a righteous person today, all because of You!  Not because of my perfect performance, but because of my Perfect Redeemer!

I woke up with this song on my mind - so many times worries and fears try to crowd in like a heavy cloud over me, and He breaks through that darkness with His light shattering the yucky thoughts and feelings!  He breaks through with His truth, His grace, His joy and love, His presence!  In His presence, darkness must flee, doubt must melt away, fear must be banished, worry must be gone!

In Your Presence is fullness of joy!

Thank You, O Lord, that You come after us!  You don't leave us in darkness - You seek us us and shout Your love to us!  You woo us and win us!  We are overcome with grace and knocked off our feet by Your marvelous love and power!

The joy - JOY! - of the Lord is our strength - not our own joy but His!  You are our shelter from the storm where we can actually rejoice in the shadow of Your wings while the troubles pass by.  Thank You for handling every concern we have today!

And thank You that in this new year, we can expect good things because Your plan for our future is all good!  Thank You for being a good God and having good plans for us, to give us hope and a looking forward to good things to come.  You are WAY stronger than the evil one and have already defeated him by the finished work of Jesus on the cross, and we want to know all the good things You've already done for us and already given us - show us all those things and shower Your love upon us all!  Fill us all with Your beautiful Spirit!

And we go out with joy and are led forth with peace into this day because we're alive again in You!  You've shattered our darkness and we walk in the light of Your countenance!  In You - what a wonderful place to be!  In Jesus' name, Amen..

Happy New Year to all!

                            With love from Sparrow..

Lyrics for "Alive Again" by Matt Maher:

I woke up in darkness
Surrounded by silence
Oh where, where have I gone?

I woke to reality Losing its grip on me
Oh where, where have I gone?
'Cause I can see the light
Before I see the sunrise

You called and You shouted
Broke through my deafness
Now I'm breathing in and breathing out
I'm alive again

You shattered my darkness
Washed away my blindness
Now I'm breathing in and breathing out
I'm alive again

Late have I loved You
You waited for me, I searched for You
What took me so long?

I was looking outside
As if Love would ever want to hide
I'm finding I was wrong
'Cause I can feel the wind
Before it hits my skin

'Cause I want You,
Yes I want You I need You, and I'll do
Whatever I have to just to get through
'Cause I love You,
Yeah I love You

(This last part about "I want you...I'll do whatever I have to just to get through" - I can also see God singing that to us, saying that He'll do anything to get through to us, that He wants us around because He loves us so - and that makes my heart sing!)
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