October 25, 2014

About coleen hayden

Coleen Hayden – Director of Women's Ministry - Prayer Ministry Leader - Blog Contributor
Coleen and her husband Robert have been married for 19 years and currently live in the Capital District area of New York State. They have one beautiful daughter, Kassia, who is married to Matt, and 4 delightful grandchildren Elijah, Kaylie Joy, Levi, and Rebekah. She enjoys sewing, cooking, and playing the piano.

Merciful, Merciful, Merciful God

SeekingHimLogo

 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger and rich in faithful love.
He will not always accuse us or be angry forever.
He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve
or repaid us according to our offenses.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust.
Psalms 103:8-14 HCSB

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What a merciful, merciful, merciful God
What a merciful, merciful, merciful God
What a merciful, merciful, merciful God You are
You are

You are so gentle
You are forgiving
You hold me close to Your heart

When I am distant
You show me mercy
You bring me close to Your heart

Written by Terry and Randy Butler/ Vineyard Music

Our Compassionate, Merciful God

SeekingHimLogo

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and plenteous
in mercy and loving-kindness.
Psalm 103:8

There is one word in this passage that stuck out to me—compassion (or merciful). In verse 8, we read that the Lord ‘is compassionate’ (merciful) and in verse 13, it says that He “has compassion” (or mercy or pity). I often find it so very helpful, when studying the Scriptures, to read a particular verse or passage in a number of different Bible versions. (Do you find that true, too?) It always brings about a more complete understanding…at least to me. I would like to let you experience this in reference to one of the verses in the section we have been focusing on this week here on the Seeking Him devotional blog. My favorite version for studying is the Amplified Bible version; so I’ll start there…

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness.

NIV
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

NLT
The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

ESV
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

NASB
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.

KJV
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.

HCSB
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love.

ISV
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, patient, and abundantly rich in gracious love.

ASV
Jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness.

DBT
Jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness.

Webster’s
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in mercy.

YLT
Merciful and gracious is Jehovah, slow to anger, and abundant in mercy.

Each of these versions (and, of course, there are more!) communicate basically the same thing…but some add just a further bit of information or inflection.  After reading through these, I was left praising God Who is ‘compassionate and merciful and gracious’ and abundantly rich in steadfast, unfailing, in loving-kindness’!  How great is our God!!!

The Strong’s concordance uses the following words to biblically define ‘compassion/merciful’ as used in verse 8:  to love, love deeply, have mercy, be compassionate, have tender affection, have compassion. And listen to this tidbit of insight:  this word (rachuwm, pronounced ‘rakh-oom’) is used only 13 times throughout the OT and

Here is the very first occurrence of this word in the Bible.

And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed,
The Lord! the Lord! a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth.
Exodus 34:6

Almighty God declared Himself ‘…the compassionate and merciful God…’ during His encounter with Moses on Mount Sinai.

No doubt God had already proven Himself VERY compassionate, merciful, and gracious towards the children of Israel!  Remember this is the account where He allows Moses to redo the two tablets on which had been the commandments which God had written and given to Moses.  (Here’s a link to go read this passage.)  While Moses and Joshua were up on the mountain receiving God’s commands, the people had chosen to turn back to their idolatrous ways and had made a golden calf and were worshipping this idol.   Upon his return, Moses became so disgusted and angry with them that he threw the tablets on the ground and broke them to smithereens!  (NOT good!)  Moses pleaded with the Lord and interceded on behalf of the Israelites.  And ‘the compassionate and merciful God’ relented and gave them yet another chance to repent and obey.  This shows the magnitude of the Lord’s mercy, compassion, and grace!

So what does this mean to us…some 3,000+ years later? It means everything…because God does not, can not, will not change. He is the same “God of compassion and mercy…slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness” as He was then.

For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed…
Malachi 3:6

I pray that each of us would hold fast and cling to this truth, and give much praise to our great God Who is the God of compassion and mercy!

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Here is a link  if you would like to study this verse and the usage of ‘compassionate/merciful’ in describing the Lord God Who IS oh-so-very merciful and compassionate.

Remind Me, Dear Lord

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

All the things that I love and hold dear to my heart
Are just borrowed they’re not mine at all
Jesus only let me use them to brighten my life
So remind me, remind me, dear Lord

Roll back the curtain of memory now and then
Show me where You brought me from and
Where I could have been
Just remember I’m a human and humans forget
So remind me, remind me, dear Lord

Nothing good have I done to deserve God’s own Son
I’m not worthy of the scars in His hands
Yet He chose the road to Calvary to die in my stead
Why He loved me I can’t understand

Just remember I’m a human and humans forget
So remind me, remind me, dear Lord

Songwriter: Mrs. Dottie Rambo / Performed by Vocal Union

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Oh, if only we WOULD remember what God has done!  The blessings, the healings, the provision, the miracles, the deliverances, the protection, the guidance…along with all the love and grace and mercy!  But, like the song says, ‘but humans forget…’.  And so we ask our compassionate and kind ABBA Father to ‘remind me…remind me, dear Lord!’  I think there are any number of ways that God reminds us of all that He has done…is doing…and will do.

One of God’s greatest gifts to us (in my own opinion) is providing the Holy Spirit…the Helper, the Comforter. While Jesus was preparing His disciples for leaving them, He told them of God’s plan. One thing He said was,

“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
John 14: 25 and 26

Jesus promised the disciples that the Holy Spirit would help them remember what He had taught them. The disciples had seen all that Jesus did and heard all that He had taught.  And, since we too are disciples of our Lord, the Holy Spirit can help us in the same way.  As we read and study the Scriptures, we can trust that truth will be placed into our hearts by the Holy Spirit as we are taught.  He will convince and convict us of God’s will, and remind us when we stray from it.

The Holy Spirit does so much for us!   True, He does plant truth in our hearts, convince us of God’s will, and remind us when we stray from it…but the responsibility to DO—obey—is ours.  He reminds…we obey.  He guides…we follow.  He helps us…we do what is right.

So, while we surely can (and should!) ask for God’s grace in reminding us through the Holy Spirit’s working in our hearts, I do think we should be responsible to remind ourselves, too!  A few things that I have purposed to do so that I am reminded are:

  • daily Bible reading

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips;
meditate on it day and night,
so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.
Joshua 1:8

  • listening to praise and worship music

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you,
with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another
with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:15 and 16

  • spending time with other Christians

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another,
and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24 and 25

  • having Scriptures up as decorations in our home

And these words which I am commanding you this day
shall be [first] in your [own] minds and hearts;
[then] you shall whet and sharpen them so as to make them penetrate,
and teach and impress them diligently upon the [minds and] hearts of your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house
and when you walk by the way,
and when you lie down and when you rise up.
and you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand,
and they shall be as frontlets (forehead bands) between your eyes.
And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9

{I would love to hear of ways that you remind yourself about our awesome God!}

Oh!  And here is a great list of 10 BIG daily reminders:

  • God exists
  • God loves you
  • Jesus died for you, and the Father has now bound himself to give you only good things.
  • God sees you as perfect
  • That is because of Jesus’ perfection…not yours
  • You will die
  • You will live forever in the new heavens and the new earth
  • For now. you are an exile on the earth
  • Nothing on earth is truly worth putting your hope in
  • You have no right to be unhappy

(Follow this link to read the entire article this list was taken from.)

Some of my Favorite Things…and Cheesecake

So it was suggested to me to post a recipe today that is one of my very own favorites…since it is my very own birthday!  Woo-hoo…59 ! So I began to think about some of my favorite things…here are  ♪♬♪ a few of my favorite things! ♪♬♪

anything lemon-y
cheese
thai food
butternut squash (prepared just about ANY way!)
a really good mixed greens and veggie salad

But none of these yummy, delicious things are truly enjoyable to me without being able to share them with others. My FAVORITE things include being able to share a meal and God’s blessings with family and friends around our big old oak table!


2013-10-20 17.41.15

As far as a recipe for one of my favorites…well, I wasn’t quite sure and then decided to post my daughter’s Cheesecake Recipe (with her permission, of couse!). This was our indulgence for my birthday cake this year! This recipe is gluten free and refined sugar free; and prepares a huge cheesecake…enough for many slices! Enjoy!

 

2014-10-19 19.42.00

Cheesecake ala Kassia

crust
ingredients:
1 cup gf graham cracker crumbs (or traditional)
1/2 cup ground pecans
3 tablespoons softened butter

directions:

  • preheat oven to 400
  • butter sides and bottom of springform pan
  • mix ingredients together
  • pour mixture into springform pan and press firmly onto bottom of pan and up sides approximately 1+1/2″
  • bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven
  • set aside to cool
  • lower oven temp to 325

filling
ingredients:
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese or neufchatel (or combination)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup agave nectar (or honey)
16 drops vanilla creme stevia
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup half&half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice

directions:

  • (set eggs out when starting to make the crust)
  • adjust racks in oven so that one is in the high middle position (not the top position) and one is in the highest low position (#2 and #4 of 5)
  • put a roasting pan on the lower rack and add approximately 1″ water
  • beat cream cheese ‘til light and fluffy
  • gradually beat in sugar ‘til fully incorporated
  • add agave (or honey) and liquid stevia
  • add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition ‘til egg is fully incorporated
  • add cornstarch and beat ‘til smooth
  • add lemon juice and vanilla; beat ‘til fully incorporated
  • add yogurt and half½ beat just ‘til combined
  • carefully pour the filling mixture into the cooled crust
  • place filled springform pan into 325 oven; bake for 70-75 minutes ‘til very center of baked cheesecake is just a tiny bit jiggly when pan is gently wiggled
  • leave cheesecake in oven! turn oven off and leave door slightly ajar for two hours
  • it is best to refrigerate cheesecake for 24-48 hours before serving

topping
can be topped with {your choice} homemade whipped cream, canned pie filling, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, fresh fruit, caramel sauce, etc.

(I would love to hear what your favorite cheesecake topping is!)

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Every Promise Of Your Word

SeekingHimLogo

Remember Your promise to me;
    it is my only hope.
Your promise revives me….

Psalm 119:49 and 50

 Stuart Townend along with Keith Getty

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From the breaking of the dawn to the setting of the sun
I will stand on every promise of Your Word
Words of power strong to save that will never pass away
I will stand on every promise of Your word

For Your covenant is sure
And on this I am secure
I can stand on ev’ry promise of Your word

When I stumble and I sin condemnation pressing in
I will stand on ev’ry promise of Your word
You are faithful to forgive that in freedom I might live
So I stand on ev’ry promise of Your Word

Guilt to innocence restored
You remember sins no more
So I’ll stand on ev’ry promise of Your word

When I’m faced with anguished choice, I will listen for Your voice
And I’ll stand on every promise of Your word

Through this dark and troubled land
You will guide me with Your hand
As I stand on ev’ry promise of Your word

And You’ve promised to complete
Ev’ry work begun in me
So I’ll stand on ev’ry promise of Your word

Hope that lifts me from despair, love that casts out ev’ry fear
As I stand on every promise of Your word

Not forsaken not alone for the Comforter has come
And I stand on ev’ry promise of Your word
Grace sufficient,grace for me
Grace for all who will believe
We will stand on ev’ry promise of Your word

God Always Keeps His Promise

SeekingHimLogo

Remember Your word to Your servant,
for You have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.
Psalms 119:49-50

Throughout the Scriptures, there are many, many records of God fulfilling His promise to His people.  Whether it be to an individual, or a group of people, or all mankind—God always keeps His promise.  I am so thankful to have these stories recorded in the Scriptures because they encourage and comfort us.  At any time, we can sit down with a bible and open up to one of numerous accounts.  One that I am always reminded of when thinking of God’s promises fulfilled is the record of Abraham and Isaac climbing Mount Moriah…remember? (Click here to read the entire record.)

As he walked toward Moriah with Isaac, Abraham must have felt conflicted…and heartbroken beyond words….  Can you imagine?  How could God ask him to sacrifice this miracle child He had blessed him and Sarai with!  No doubt, he did not understand all that God was doing.  He didn’t know he was illustrating for God’s people for all time what faith and trust looked like.

Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did
when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions
were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God,
and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.
James 2:21–23

He didn’t know this provision for the sacrifice would foreshadow the sacrifice of God’s only Son —a Son who would not be spared because He was the provided Lamb.

The next day John saw Jesus coming to him and said,
Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!
John 1:29

He only knew that God had promised and that He surely knew what He was doing. He stood on his faith and belief that God could be trusted to keep His promise—even if it appeared like the promise was going to die. And God proved himself faithful to Abraham.

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac,
and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;
He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead,
from which he also received him back as a type.
Hebrews 11:17, 19

Jehovah – Jireh, our faithful Father, proves Himself faithful to us constantly. Even if it doesn’t look like it right now, God will bring His promise to pass. We have hope through His Word. Trust Him.

What particular promise has God has made to which you can confess,

“Remember Your word to Your servant,
for You have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.”

Child Forgiven

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I thought I had my bases covered
My destiny was in control
But I could see I’d never reach perfection
The day I hit a slick spot in the road

After that I thought my life was over
But Jesus had a different point of view
All I did was confess, and Jesus did the rest
Thank God I’ve been released and made brand new

You’re looking at a child forgiven
You’re looking at a soul set free
You’re looking at a pardoned prisoner who’s walking now in liberty
I’m standing here because of wondrous grace
My sins are in the deepest sea
He washed me clean somehow
So what you’re seeing now
Is a happy, happy child set free

Now what you see is not a perfect person
What you see is not a faultless soul
What you see is someone who was broken
Until the hand of Jesus made me whole

What you see is not a finished product
What you see might sometimes miss the mark
But I know my Father’s eyes see only His sweet prize
The perfect holy children that we are

Performed here by the Gaither Vocal Band
Songwriters: Suzanne Jennings and Bill Gaither

  *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Hey, before we go any further, would you do one thing, please?  Would you go look in the mirror….  Now, see there?!  There is a “child forgiven, a happy happy child set free”…you!

But for the grace of God, we would still be prisoners and slaves to sin. But for His wondrous and amazing grace, we would be without hope.  But,

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace….
Romans 3:22-24

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness,
and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13 and 14

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.
Ephesians 1:4

One of the joy-filled lines of this song is “But I know my Father’s eyes see only His sweet prize—the perfect holy children that we are… ”.  Now I know we aren’t completely and totally perfectly perfect yet…but remember Jesus told His disciples (and us!) to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

The apostle Paul, who is such a wonderful example to us of how to live righteously, wrote of his own struggle with this Truth:

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on
so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude;
and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;
however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
Philippians 3:12-16

It is so very important to remember the Truth of who you are in Christ.  Here are just a few aspects of this reality that, by God’s grace, He has made us to be.

  • I am forgiven; Jesus paid my debt

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature,
God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us
and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the Cross.
Colossians 2:13 and 14

  • I am His child

Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:12

  • I belong to Him

Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him]
and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist],
because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4

  • I am chosen, holy

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of Him
who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

  • I cannot be separated from His love

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39

  • I have been given strength to do all which God calls me to do

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me
[I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him
Who infuses inner strength into me...].
Philippians 4:13

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…Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come…
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead,
and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us
and released us from our sins by His blood—
Revelations 1:4 and 5

Spaghetti Squash with Garlicky Shrimp and Tomatoes

2014-10-07 20.48.38

Healthy but oh-so-yummy…that’s this dish! I think that, even if you were ‘piggish’ and loaded your plate up with a bigger than usual portion of this dish, you would still be around 300 calories!  Enjoy!

Here’s how I figure that…
– spaghetti squash has 31 calories and less than half a gram of fat per cup
– 4 ounce serving of shrimp is going to set you back 100 calories with less than 1 gram of fat
– the tomatoes contain approximately 25 calories in one cup
– red onion and garlic add maybe 50 or so calories
– of course, the 1 tablespoon of olive oil adds 120 calories; the butter 100 calories; and the grated asiago (like most cheeses) brings 100 more calories
– and there is a good amount of protein in this dish, too!
NOTE: each pound of spaghetti squash will yield approximately 2 cups cooked squash

ingredients:
1 (1+1/2 – 2 pound) spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil or salted butter
1 medium red onion, finely diced
8 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (I use jarred)
1 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
1/2# raw shrimp, tails pulled off
sea salt & freshly ground pepper (I use a lemon pepper blend grinder)
1 tablespoon salted butter
3 tablespoons fresh parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1-2 ounces of finely grated asiago (or other strong flavored hard cheese)
lemon slices for finish & garnish

directions:

spaghetti squash (there are a number of other methods, see link for some suggestions):

  1. 2014-10-07 18.42.53
    I simply cut one in half; pull out the seeds (only the seeds); rub the cut edges with a tiny bit of olive oil; season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper; place flat sides down on a piece of parchment paper or foil laid on a baking sheet.
  2. bake in a preheated 425 oven for 30 minutes; remove from oven, carefully flip over and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  3. when ready, take a serving spoon and run it along the edge between the skin of the squash and the cooked ‘meat’ of the squash. remove from skin and, using a fork, separate into strands.

shrimp and tomatoes:

  • heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat
  • add the minced onion and cook ‘til it begins to soften and slightly brown around the edges, 2-3 minutes
  • add the diced tomatoes (flat side down) and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. lower heat to medium and allow to cook undisturbed for 6-7 minutes
  • the tomatoes will ‘give up’ some liquid and begin to create a sauce
    scatter the chopped garlic over the tomatoes, and stir constantly for an additional minute ‘til you begin to smell the garlic
  • pour in the wine (or broth), increase heat to medium and simmer ‘til the liquid has reduced by about half as much, maybe 5-6 minutes
  • add in the shrimp, and reduce heat to low; cook ‘til shrimp turn pink on the bottom side; flip over and cook ‘til shrimp are just pink all the way through; do not overcook
  • then when the shrimp have nearly cooked through, add the butter.  stir the butter so that it gets all around the contents of the pan and begins to slightly thicken the sauce
  • when the butter has fully incorporated, add the parsley and the spaghetti squash
  • gently fold everything together, allowing the spaghetti squash to reheat in the sauce for a minute or two so everything becomes the same temperature
  • sprinkle the shredded cheese across top
  • serve immediately with lemon to squeeze over the top; season to taste

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

More To Be Desired Are They Than Gold (Psalms 19:7-11)

SeekingHimLogo

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
Psalms 19:7-11

Sólo El Amor

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv
For love I’d do almost anything
I’d cross the widest of oceans
For love, I’d fly with an broken wing
Just to taste it for a moment
For love, I’d turn back the strongest tide
There’s no storm I couldn’t weather
‘Cause it’s more than a gleam in someone’s eye
It’s what holds us all together
But I’ve only known once in my lifetime
Love in its purest form
He came here for me
Suffered and then died under a crown of thorns

Sólo el amor es la salida {Sólo el amor, only love can save me}
Limpia, construye, concibe y procres {Conquering death and the sting of the grave }
Tan solo el amor sana la herida {Kingdoms will fail and tongues will cease}
Que alguna vez nos causara el dolor {But through all eternity love will remain}

Sólo el amor, when all else has failed me,
Will take me to places that I’ve never dreamed
Healing my wounds and setting me free
There’s nothing else worth living for
Sólo el amor

Por amor murio crucifecada la esperanza de la humanidad
{For love the Hope of humanity made the lame to walk again}
El amor es al fruta sagrada {For love He settled the raging sea}
La promesa de la libertad { And became the sinner’s friend} 

For love He drank of His Father’s cup
With all my shame on His shoulders
And He offered forgiveness through His shed blood
Tell me, is it any wonder
That I’ve only known once in my lifetime
Love in its purest form
He came here for me
Suffered and then died under a crown of thorns

Sólo el amor…only love

Performed by Sandi Patty, Miguel Angel Guerra
Songwriters: Donato Póveda / Kelly Minter

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This morning I was sitting at my piano playing, and singing along to the words of this song.  I was struck so deeply by the very first line: “For love I’d do almost anything…”.  Because I WOULD do almost anything due to the love I have for my family and loved ones!  You would, too…I am sure!  Those of us who are mommas (or grammas!), we know the truth of this feeling in our hearts.  Y’know the whole “don’t get between a mother lion and her cub!” thing.  Definitely a deep, strong, passionate love there. But (as the lyrics go on to tell us) there is a love that goes beyond what you or I have done or could even imagine doing. The love of Jesus our Savior and Redeemer:  “He came here for me, suffered and then died under a crown of thorns.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly…
But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6 and 8

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief . . .
we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:3-5 (spoken prophetically of our Messiah)

But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy
the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us,
Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses,
He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ;
[He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him,
for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve)
that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation.
Ephesians 2:4-5

Christ’s death is not only the demonstration of God’s love (John 3:16), it is also the ultimate expression of Jesus’ own love for all mankind. And my part (yours AND mine) is being convicted of this fact: “Christ loved me and gave Himself for me.”  And not just convicted…my response (OUR response) should be LOVE.   How do we prove our love for our Savior?  Simply by our obedience.

No matter where you look in the Scriptures—whether back in the records of the Old Testament…or in the words of our Lord contained in the Gospels…or in the doctrine given to the 1st century Church—to say ‘I love You, o God’ means you choose to obey.  Here are just three examples:

Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God,
who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousand generations
with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
Deuteronomy 7:9

“If you love Me, keep My commands.
Whoever has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me.
The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love them
and show Myself to them.
…Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make Our home with them.
Anyone who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father who sent Me.”
John 14:15, 21, 23-24

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God
and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God,
that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:2 and 3

I would love to leave you with a couple of resources that communicate so beautifully about the love of Jesus demonstrated through the sacrifice of His life for you and me.

The first is a sermon, Herein Is Love, that Charles Spurgeon preached.    Click here.

And the second is a book, Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die,  that Pastor John Piper wrote.  Click here.

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I hope that you will take make the time, maybe not today but soon…or perhaps read them as part of your quiet time over a few days.  As you listen to this song and read through these teachings, my prayer is “…that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge…” (Ephesians 3:17-19).