I Have Lived in the Goodness of God (CeCe Winans)

 What a beautiful song!  He has always been faithful to love us and be there for us.  He has always been so good to us, all through our lives!

I love You, Lord
For Your mercy never fails me
All my days, I've been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

'Cause all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

I love Your voice
You have led me through the fire
In darkest night You are close like no other
I've known You as a Father
I've known You as a Friend
And I have lived in the goodness of God, yeah

'Cause all my life You have been faithful, oh yes You have
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

Your goodness is running after, it's running after me
Your goodness is running after, it's running after me
With my life laid down, I surrendered now
I give You everything, oh Lord
Your goodness is running after, it's running after me
Your goodness is running after, it's running after me (oh yeah, oh yeah)
Your goodness is running after, it's running after me
With my life laid down, I surrendered now
I give You everything
Your goodness is running after, it keeps running after me

And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I'm gonna sing of the goodness of God

On My Good Days and My Bad Days, I'm Always Child of God ("I'm So Blessed" by Cain the Band)

 My daughter introduced me to this great song by Cain the Band.  It's such a great reminder that no matter what, we are God's children and we are so blessed because we have Him!

"Cause on my best day, I'm a child of God

On my worst day, I'm a child of God

Oh, Every day is a good day

And You're the reason why

"I'm so blessed, I'm so blessed

Got this heartbeat in my chest

No, it doesn't matter about the rest

If I got You, Lord, I'm so blessed"

We Love You, God!

To the One who created a world for us,

To the One who breathed His own life into us,

To the One who loves to be with us,

We love You, Papa!

To the One who knows all about us,

To the One who thinks we're beautiful,

To the One who calls us His own children,

We love You, Papa!

To the One who took on flesh for us,

To the One who came Himself to rescue us,

To the One who couldn't bear to be without us,

We love You, Jesus!

To the One who came into our pain with us,

To the One who felt all our anguish with us,

To the One who even gave His own life for us,

We love You, Jesus!

To the One who forever lives inside of us,

To the One who fights against fear for us,

To the One who speaks truth in us,

We love You, Holy Spirit!

To the One who is ever close to us,

To the One who is always a Friend to us,

To the One who constantly empowers us,

We love You, Holy Spirit!

To the One who is always there for us,

To the One who never lets go of us,

To the One who will never fails us,

We love You, God!

To the One who will work everything out for us,

To the One who will heal every hurt in us,

To the One who has heaven waiting for us,

We love You, God!

God Answers Our Prayers, Even at Our Lowest and Most "Unworthy" Moments

There was a time a few years ago when I lost several close family members.  During my grieving time, I felt like I was wandering aimlessly.  Often, I didn't pray or seek God.  Sometimes I even doubted if He was there at all.  I certainly felt like a 'bad Christian' at this time in many ways, and not very spiritual at all.  Yet right when I started praying again and asking God for help in a crisis that came up, He was right there for me, with His peace, and help, and presence!  

It's interesting to me that even at my most unworthy, unrighteous, unfaithful moments, when I ask God for help He is always right there and answers my prayer.  He answers my prayer even if I'm not doing all the right things, or even believing all the right things!

It is just like the scripture says, "Call unto Me, and I will answer you."  It doesn't say only if you are righteous, only if you confess all sin, only if you have good works and right motives, only if you have faith, only if you have trusted Christ, only if you are appropriating the righteousness of Christ...it just says "CALL for help!  I WILL answer!"

Why does God answer our prayers?  Is is because we have done or believed enough?  We can admit that we aren't 'enough' in faith or in deeds when it comes right down to it.  

Well, is it just because of Christ, as if God can only stand to look at us or hear us if we put a Jesus mask over our ugly face or poor deeds?  Of course it is great that we have been given the righteousness of Christ, but now I'm thinking that was done more to help US to feel more confident in God's presence, not to make GOD more comfortable in ours!  After all, Jesus was quite comfortable walking around on Earth with sinners, befriending them and eating with them, even dying for them!

So why does God answer our prayers? 

Why is He there for us, even if we've been wandering away from Him for years?  

Why does He still listen, and help, and care, and support, and strengthen and give?

It's because HE LOVES US!  

I guess we will never come to the end of that love, or even begin to understand a small fraction of that love.  

We are His created children, 'His offspring,' and He just plain loves us.  

He says that we are enough to be loved, just by being His creation.  God so loved THE WORLD!

We are worth it, we have dignity and we matter, without having to do or believe anything.  

We already ARE loved by God.  

We don't have to do or be anything to be loved and helped by God!

He already IS loving us, IS helping us!

And He is graciously helping and carrying us even when we don't pray, even when we fail to turn to Him.  He NEVER fails us!  Grace doesn't even wait for us to come, to ask, to pray...Grace just carries and supports us no matter what!  

He is pure Grace and He is always there, always caring, always supporting, always working!

And HE is enough!  

Enough to hold all our worries, fears, doubts, confusion, rebellion, wandering and error.  

Enough to hold all our concern, care, petition, needs and weakness. 

Enough to hold all our problems, all our family and friends, all our past, present and future, all our life!

He loves us, and He is enough to handle all that concerns us today.  

He is enough.  At our highest moments, and at our lowest moments.

And that is enough for everything!

He Has Us in His Heart...

He has us in His heart,

in the eternal realm -

where there isn't any failure,

where there isn't any shame,

where there isn't any pressure to perform,

where we have never done anything wrong and never will,

where we have never been wounded and never will,

where we are safe and secure,

where we are accepted unconditionally,

where we are pure and sweet and beloved,

where there is no stress,

where there is no struggle,

where there is no worry about doing right and avoiding wrong,

where there is no need to become because we just ARE,

where everything just IS,

where we will forever BE our true selves -

the unconditionally loved children of God,

in sweet communion with Him,

filled with His fullness of LIFE and LOVE and LIGHT!

THAT'S where we are!

Christ is Our Memory and Epiphany - the Teaching of John Scotus Eriugena

One of the greatest teachers in the Celtic world, John Scotus Eriugena in ninth-century Ireland, also taught that Christ is our memory.

We suffer from the “soul’s forgetfulness,” he says.

Christ comes to reawaken us to our true nature.

He is our epiphany.

He comes to show us the face of God.

He comes to show us also our face, the true face of the human soul.

This leads the Celtic tradition to celebrate the relationship between nature and grace.

Instead of grace being viewed as opposed to our essential nature or as somehow saving us from ourselves, nature and grace are viewed as flowing together from God.

They are both sacred gifts.

The gift of nature, says Eriugena, is the gift of “being”; the gift of grace, on the other hand, is the gift of “well-being.”

Grace is given to reconnect us to our true nature.

At the heart of our being is the image of God, and thus the wisdom of God, the creativity of God, the passions of God, the longings of God.

Grace is opposed not to what is deepest in us but to what is false in us.

It is given to restore us to the core of our being and to free us from the unnaturalness of what we are doing to one another and to the earth.

-from Christ of the Celts

God's Focus - Not on Our Behavior, But on His Love for Us

I was reading this morning in my grace devotional and I came across this thought: I wish we could get behavior out of our minds when we think about our relationship with God. 

That really stuck with me and I want to ponder it more. I have focused on my behavior so much when it comes to my relationship with God. I have thought that God focused on my behavior, too. I have imagined Him shaking His head at me in disappointment, wishing I could just do better, pray more, have more faith, increase in holiness, etc. etc. etc! 

But what if God isn't focusing on my works or deeds or behavior at all? What if He is just focusing on how much He loves me? 

I really believe that is a big part of the grace message of God to us - that He is not all about behavior and works. That He is all about love and grace. That He loves us regardless of our behavior and without any reference to whether we ever improve or not! 

Recently a wonderful blessing came to our extended family. On my husband's side of the family there is a young man who married a lovely girl. For ten years they waited, hoped, prayed and wished for a baby. But a baby never came for all those long years. Then finally, this year a miracle occurred and they found out they were expecting a baby! You can imagine the tears of relief and joy they had! And just a few days ago, they welcomed their beautiful baby boy into this world! The baby is beautiful, a tiny perfect human being with a sweet little expression and lovely dark hair. The photos they posted of them holding this little one, wearing caps that said "Dad" and "Mom" just made tears come to my eyes. 

And I started imagining how much that baby is already cherished and loved! It has been prayed for, wished for, hoped for, dreamed for..for so many long years. Finally the hopes and dreams have come to pass and the baby is now in their arms. They have many years of love stored up for this little one, and all they want to do is pour out their love on this little guy, hold him, rock him, spend time studying his every feature, singing to him, and just smiling at him! They probably don't want to put him down, but just hold him every second! 

And I realized, that must be how God sees all of us! He has waited for the moment we would be created and born, has dreamed of us and brought us into existence. All He wants to do is pour out His love on us! All He wants to do is hold us in His arms and sing to us! All He wants to do is take care of us, cherish us, nurture us, and spend all His time with us! 

I can't imagine my relatives worrying about their baby's behavior! It's a joke to even think such a thing! It's not on their mind whether he will be good enough, smart enough, behave well enough, or obey them enough to please them! Their minds aren't on his behavior, they are just on how much they love him. And I really believe that is the way God feels about us, too. He sees us as His dear little ones, babes in His arms, and His mind isn't on our behavior, it's just on how much He loves us! 

I think about that new little baby. He hasn't even had time to DO any behaving, obeying, trusting, yielding or performing yet! But he is still loved in such a big way. I believe that is the same with God and us. He loves us apart from our behavior and without reference to any behavior! God isn't concerned with that, He isn't judging us, He isn't demanding some amazing behavior from us. He is just loving us.  

And out of that love He is being there for us, He is helping us, He is blessing us, He is caring for us, whether we ever perform well or not.  His love and care come to us not because we have perfect behavior, or perfect motivations, or even perfect faith. Not with reference to anything coming from us at all! Just like any parent loves and takes care of their little one, not because the child made that happen in some way, but just because that's their beloved child!

Let's accept that, let's bask in that love, let's give ourselves a break and love ourselves! Let's relax in the arms that are holding us and see His smile towards us! Daddy is cherishing us and always will. We will always be infinitely loved by Him and we will always be in His arms! 

Beautiful things I want to remember: 

You are the child God always wanted. 

God loves you without reference to anything you DO. 

You simply ARE His beloved, cherished child. 

He is happy with the way He made you! 

You can love and cherish yourself, as God does. 

See His eyes of love on you and feel His arms holding you. 

You are beautiful to God and He is so proud to be your Dad!

Things to Remember..

 It has been so long since I wrote anything here on my little blog!  But I am thankful to have this blog and am so thankful for all the things God teaches me about grace every single day.  Life is so precious and I am so thankful for each day to enjoy my life with family and friends and God!  To any readers who happen by, many blessings of love, peace, joy and grace to you in this precious life!

I was writing a list of good things to remember for a young friend of mine who is struggling with self-doubt and feelings of not being 'good enough' as a Christian.  I can relate so much to those feelings.  I lived with them for years and still struggle with them from time to time.  So I made this list for my friend and for me and wanted to share it here, too.  It's so good to go over these wonderful truths of God's love and acceptance and grace!

Things to Remember:

-God is pleased with me no matter how I think or act.

-No matter what I may do wrong, Jesus already died for that and it's already forgiven and gone.

-I'm always 100% clean and pure before God because Jesus washed all my sins away long ago at the cross.

-I don't have to try to do better or be a better Christian.  Jesus already did all the necessary 'performing' for me, and He was perfect!

-I am righteous, for Jesus gave me His own righteousness.  So I am always 'all right with God.'

-I can never get any closer to God, any better before God, or any more loved by God than I am right now!

-I am good, innocent, kind and pure because God made me that way as a new creation, with a pure heart inside.

-God is taking care of everything that concerns me, so I don't have to handle it all on my own.  It's not all up to me, it's all up to God.

-Even if I doubt, fail, or even turn away from God, He will never change toward me.  He will always love me and be right there beside me. 

-I am beautiful to God, one of a kind, a work of art - His masterpiece!

-I am perfect to God right now, just as I am.  

-I'm already all I was ever meant to be - God's innocent, beautiful, beloved child.  No changes needed or required!

-God is not demanding that I improve or 'do' anything.  God asks nothing of me.  He just wants to love on me and be my Friend.

-Friends are always there for each other, and God will always be there for me and have my back.

-God is right there inside me at all times, and I am right there inside God at all times. Our spirits are in union.  You can't get any closer than that!

-I am 100% loved and accepted by God, and nothing I do and nothing that happens can ever change that fact!

-God says I am a winner in His book!  He says I am His favorite!  He says that I am worth it!

-Right now, Jesus is carrying me through it all, the Holy Spirit is strengthening me through it all, and the Father is loving me through it all.  Because of Him, I am invincible!

-There has never been a moment when I have been out of His care, and there never will be.

-God already wrote the end of my story with Him, and 'they lived happily ever after!'

Chrysostom on Christ Overthrowing the devil and hell at the Resurrection

[Quote from] the fourth century Archbishop of Constantinople, John Chrysostom and his sermon on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What a powerful declaration of what Jesus did:  
By descending into Hell, Jesus made Hell captive. 
Isaiah foretold this when he said: 
Hell was angered, when it encountered Christ. 
It was angered for it was abolished. 
It was angered, for it was mocked. 
It was angered, for it was defeated. 
It was angered for it was overthrown. 
It was angered, for it was now fettered in chains…. 
Christ is risen, and the devil and hell are overthrown. 
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. 
Christ is risen, and the Angels rejoice. 
Christ is risen, and life reigns. 
Christ is risen, and not one dead will remain in the grave, 
For Christ has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep”.

from Peter Youngren newsletter
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