December 11, 2017

What Grace Is Mine

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What grace is mine that He who dwells in endless light
Called through the night to find my distant soul
And from His scars poured mercy that would plead for me
That I might live and in His name be known

So I will go wherever He is calling me
I lose my life to find my life in Him
I give my all to gain the hope that never dies
I bow my heart, take up my cross, and follow Him

What grace is mine to know His breath alive in me
Beneath His wings my wak’ned soul may soar
All fear can flee for death’s dark night is overcome
My Savior lives and reigns forevermore

So I will go…

~  Sing this song with me as our prayer and worship today.  ~

Traditional melody ‘Londonderry Air;  Arranged by Rob Mathes

Lyrics written and Performed by Mrs. Kristyn Getty

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If you there was one all-important point that was the focus of Jesus’ teaching it would be salvation, don’t you agree?

Websters’ 1828 Dictionary defines salvation as this:
SALVA’TION, n. [L. salvo, to save.]

1. The act of saving; preservation from destruction, danger or great calamity.
2. Appropriately in theology, the redemption of man from the bondage of sin and liability to eternal death, and the conferring on him everlasting happiness. This is the great salvation.

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

Jesus spoke over and over and over again (Matthew 10, Mark 8, Luke 9, Luke 17, John 12) to His disciples on this life-changing, life-giving, life-saving issue—of ‘losing one’s life’ for the benefit of actually saving it.  Perhaps He felt that ‘rubbing it in’ and repetition were needful for them.  Perhaps He just loved them so much that He wanted them to know of the vital importance of salvation.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple,
let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests]
and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me,
conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].
For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here]
shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here]
for My sake shall find it [life everlasting].
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life
[his blessed life in the kingdom of God]?
Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] life [in the kingdom of God]?
For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendor) of His Father
with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man
in accordance with what he has done.
Matthew 19:24-27 AMP

These words obviously sunk deep into the hearts of His chosen—the apostles who lived and served alongside Jesus.  Immediately prior to His leaving them to return to His Father, He told them,

…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.
Acts 1:8

And so they waited for the promise of the Father—the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Upon receiving ‘power’ they did witness…through the manifestation of speaking in tongues to believers gathered in Jerusalem from “every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5).  In particular, Peter spoke boldly and confidently with much conviction and admonition to the crowds gathered there in Jerusalem.  Just as Jesus had done, Peter made it clear that salvation is required for eternal life…and that it is only available through Jesus Christ.

…Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by Him this man is standing before you well.  This Jesus is the Stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:10-12

And the Apostle Paul spoke the Gospel message of salvation often, and stridently, to seemingly everyone he encountered.  He admittedly recognized in his own life, the need to lose his life, take up his cross, and follow the Lord Jesus.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel,
because it is the power of God
that brings salvation to everyone who believes:
first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Romans 1:16

We, too, have been given this life-changing, life-giving, life-saving opportunity to do the same.  By God’s grace we have received the Gospel message of salvation; and, by His grace, we have believed it.  May we, too, sing our confession, ‘I bow my heart, take up my cross, and follow Him!’

So I will go wherever He is calling me

  • Jesus has called us (His disciples) into a life of obedience and submission to Him

I lose my life to find my life in Him

  • Our earthly life, in the end, has no value or worth; but eternal life—oh what worth!

I give my all to gain the hope that never dies

  • …We might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul… (Hebrews 6:18-20)

I bow my heart, take up my cross, and follow Him  ♥ 

Sweet, Sweet Spirit

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjvIt’s December 22, 1990. It’s cold outside—and inside, really.  I’m wearing a green velvet dress and I’m waiting to walk down the aisle.  It’s my sister’s wedding. Not expected really, two daughters marrying in one year. We needed the Holy Spirit now, more than ever. See, my sweet daddy was giving away his baby, his last daughter and it wasn’t supposed to be this soon. She had a sweet blessing on the way and made the decision to get married. She and I both always wanted our dad to sing in our weddings and here we were. He had just sang at mine and that was hard but now he could barely choke out the words. We were “praying and we were praying through.”

A lady by the name of Doris Akers wrote this beautiful song in 1945. One night, as she prayed with her own choir, she felt they weren’t ready for the service and they really needed to pray. Again and again they prayed and they didn’t feel Him. Then she said, “We need to pray and pray through!”  They did and the Holy Spirit came down in a powerful way, just like it did that day in December during my sister’s wedding. The next morning, Doris had this song in her mind, playing over and over. She titled it, “Sweet, Sweet Spirit.”  Here are the lyrics:

There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place,
And I know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord;
There are sweet expressions on each face,
And I know they feel the presence of the Lord.

Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet heavenly Dove,
Stay right here with us, filling us with Your love.
And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise;
Without a doubt we’ll know that we have been revived,
When we shall leave this place.

There are blessings you cannot receive
Till you know Him in His fullness and believe;
You’re the one to profit when you say,
“I am going to walk with Jesus all the way.”

If you say He saved you from your sin,
Now you’re weak, you’re bound and cannot enter in,
You can make it right if you will yield,
You’ll enjoy the Holy Spirit that we feel”

Words and Music: Doris Akers / Performed by Gaither Vocal Band & SSQ

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When Jesus left earth to go back to His Father, He left us with a task that we could not possibly do on our own. He made it clear that we would need the power of the Holy Spirit.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you
and you will be my witnesses.
Acts 1:8

Have you ever thought about how your life is different because you have the Spirit living inside you? He is your comforter, advisor, encourager, and strength. He guides us in the way we should go!

So as believers, we do feel the “sweet sweet spirit” in this place.  And we know that it’s the Presence of the Lord.  Need Him today? Call on Jesus, ask the Lord for His Holy Spirit to fill you and guide you in every direction and every aspect of your life. And pray and pray and pray through!  What a gift we have been left by Jesus Himself.

And like the song says, “I am going to walk with Jesus all the way!”

Let us pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, we thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit to guide us and comfort us and fill us so that we can have the joy and freedom given by being saved.  Help us to empty ourselves of us and receive Your Spirit and all that goes with that.  We love You and we praise You for giving us the strength to resist temptation, to be able to love each other, to spread Your hope and good news to the world.  Thank You for the Spirit to intercede on our behalf when we don’t even know what to say.  Help us to keep our eyes on You.  For it’s in Your Name we pray, amen.

 

Sing Along

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A couple years ago I was in the car with my sister and nieces, and my niece instantly started singing along to “Angels we Have Heard on High.”  It was such a sweet moment. My sister told me she just loves that song! Now, each Christmas season when I hear this song playing, I think of that moment years ago and smile.

 

I simply love that one of my niece’s favorite songs is one which highlights the glory of God!  I want all of my nieces and nephews to grow up loving God and knowing that He is their Savior. I am thankful they hear about Him daily.

Just as my nieces and nephews hear, how is the entire world going to learn about God’s goodness and love and know Him personally unless they are hearing about Him?

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8

I love this verse so much! It challenges me to truly share Jesus with everyone I pass by in a day. Whether it be a smile, a kind word, or lyrics to a Christmas song—don’t pass up any opportunity to be God’s witness to the whole wide world!

One thing we can take advantage at this time of year is the fact that many people who normally listen to stations playing music with empty words are now hearing Christmas songs filled with God’s words blast through their speakers. These new lyrics can leave them searching for something, for Someone. Let’s be ready to share the good news that Jesus is Who, what they have been searching for. He came into this hurting world for you and me, in order to save us and so we could spend eternity in His glory one day!
Truth be told, maybe the only time Jesus will be heard on most of these stations is during the Christmas season.

Think about the words of this song alone, Angels We Have Heard on High:

Shepherds, why this jubilee
Why your joyous strains prolong
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song
Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the Highest)
Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Glory to God in the Highest)
Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing
Come adore on bended knee
Christ our Lord, the new born King

What is the reason for your joy? What is the reason for the hope you have found? What is the reason for these songs of praise? Just as this song answers these questions, let us, too, answer these questions for the single mom asking…the drug addict asking…the homeless person asking…the quiet child asking.

Let us pray for each for these ones to be brought along our path this Christmas so we can share with them God’s love…so that one day they will be singing along with us and the angels, to His glorious song in Heaven, Glory to God in the Highest!

Girls with Swords: Chapter 8 Weekly Review – “Sword Words”

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Welcome to Campground USA

Log Cabins, Nature Trails, Canoes,

Paddle Boats, Bikes, Fishing

Our review of Chapter 8 in Girls With Swords by Lisa Bevere, will be a little different than usual.  I am going to “pretend” that after Teresa, Jennifer, Tonya, and Diane spoke around the bonfire, they gave each of us a “handout sheet” summarizing what they had spoken about.  They encouraged us to take it back home with us once we departed from our stay together.  It is the summarized “handout sheet,” that I wish to post. Great information to keep with your Bible.

Teresa

Lisa’s Quotes:

  • We are ministers of hope whose words are seasoned with salt and light and sound foreign in a world peppered with darkness.
  • Words are invisible, but if misused, they can prove deadly.
  • If we knew we were going to live out the rest of our days in a foreign country, we would take the time to learn the language to communicate.  It makes sense to learn heaven’s language NOW.
  • We lift swords when we lift His Word.

Teresa’s Questions:    

  1. If the Bible is my guide book to life does that mean I should follow all the ideals set forth?
  2. Do I pick and choose which ones I like and which ones I don’t?
  3. If I do have to follow all of them, how do I translate those stories to apply to modern day living?

Challenge: It’s time to break camp, Warriors! We have been called. We have been trained. We have been forged into a weapon to be used against the forces of darkness.

Scripture:  Death and life are in the power of the tongue.  (Proverbs 18:21)

 

Jennifer

Lisa’s quotes:  

  • Out of the abundance of God’s heart, He spoke the universe of galaxies into existence; this power lives within us.
  • When we truly have something to say, God finds a way to interpret it for all who need to hear. When we yield ourselves to speak His words by the power of His Spirit, astonishing things can happen.
  • For far too long the Word has been interpreted rather than proclaimed.
  • Our God Most High is triumphant. His glorious love and wondrous mercy know no bounds. The gift of salvation is through faith in Him alone, and all who seek Him find grace and hope.
  • Unifying ourselves with our Father’s purposes and language will initiate, or begin anew, God’s plan and unify a people around His purpose.
  • When we root ourselves in God, in His Word, our sword grows stronger.  It finds substance.

Jennifer’s Questions: 

  1. Have you unleashed God’s power in your life?
  2. Will you choose to use your words in a way that removes yourself from the picture and glorifies God?
  3. Will you speak in your flawed manner or tell of His flawless works?
  4. Will you be part of a unified voice by allowing His Spirit to fill you?

Challenge: Have a conversation with the Lord and be honest when answering each question I have posed.

Scripture:  Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  (Matthew 12:34)

 

Tonya

Lisa’s Quotes:

  • Far too much is lost in interpretation when we pass the words through the filter of earth rather than fashion the earth with the words of heaven.

Tonya’s Questions:

  1.  Are we allowing our words to become earth-based?
  2. Are we allowing them to become catchy or cliché?  
  3. Are we trying to make the sacred words common?  
  4. Are our words lacking wisdom, and hurting instead of healing?
  5. When we say things, are we saying them because they sound good and will grab the attention of others?
  6. Or have we passed what we are going to say through God’s filter?  
  7. Have we asked His advice about what to say and how to say it?  
  8. Have we sought out His Scripture?

Challenge:  What are we doing with our words? 

Scripture:  The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)

 

Diane

Lisa’s Quotes:

  • How awesome that our Father not only gave us a language but gave us Jesus, the example of how to live what we speak.

Diane’s Questions:

  1. When is the last time you have prayed God’s will for your life over your own desires?
  2. Do you desire to be the tract lady for Jesus, giving people His words that they are in desperate need of?
  3. What words are we using when we fearlessly share the saving grace, love, and power of Jesus Christ with the lost and the hurting—God’s words or our words?

Challenge: Let God’s words transform your actions to line up with what He is showing us to do.

Scripture:  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

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After the ladies spoke, there was a hush all around the bonfire.  It seemed as though every woman was in serious thought and prayer concerning the handout sheet that they had received.  And then, as if to confirm the whole message that had been spoken to us, Christi stood before the group and began to speak.

Christi

I want to share something with all of you today. It is a message that I hope and pray ALL parents grab a hold of and meditate on. For years, words have scarred my life. From the time I was 5 years old words have produced scars and they have created me to be who I am today.

I can remember the first time I was called a whore by a loved one…I was 8 years old. I didn’t even know what the word meant, but I knew it had to be bad because of the look on her face when she said it. For years, I was told I was stupid, and worthless; I would never amount to anything. I grew up “knowing” I was all of those things, and more.

My actions throughout my teenage years were, I believe, the product of the words that were spoken over me. I became very promiscuous. From the age of 15 to 25, I honestly can’t tell you how many men I slept with. I’m horrified to even admit that, but it is truth. I was so naive to believe that a guy “loved” me, only to find out that he only wanted one thing. It just began to prove to me over and again that the words this loved one spoke over me were truth. I was unlovable, and I had actually become what my loved one, and many others would call a whore.

When Jesus came into my life in 1984, I devoured God’s word day and night. I was learning something totally new: God Loved Me! Within time, my thoughts began to change; I began to allow God’s word to go deep into my heart. I began to see that I was truly worthy, and lovable! I’ve never experienced a love like that before! I began to start loving myself because God was showing me that I was lovable.

My message to parents today: PLEASE watch the words you speak to your children. They truly will form the belief that your child will develop in themselves. Tell your kids how proud you are of them. Make sure they know that you love them! Make sure you tell your daughters just how worthy and special they are! Make sure you speak truth, God’s TRUTH, into them! I truly believe that by doing this, it will definitely make a difference in how they believe in themselves, and in the choices they make in life!

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 Let’s Pray: 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my thoughts be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”  Only then can we be the warrior that you have called us to be.  In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.  

Girls with Swords: Chapter 8 – “Warnings” (pages 134-137)

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Jesus’ life fulfilled the Word of God.

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”  Each day He arose with God; He knew what was ahead.  He knew what God’s will for His life was.  He prayed God’s will for His life.

Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  After reading this verse in the Bible, I am awed by Jesus’ prayer.  ‘This cup’ is the terrible agony Jesus knew He would endure.  ‘This cup’ was separation from God so that He could die for your and my sins.  This is what Jesus prayed for.  I know we bloggers have been asking a lot of questions this week, but let me pose another one to you today:  When was the last time you prayed God’s will for your life over your own desires?

As Lisa explains on page 136, our Father gave us Jesus to be the example of how to live what we speak.  There will never be anyone who will be perfect—as Jesus is perfect—but we can all strive to live a life pleasing to God as Jesus did while He walked the Earth.  Jesus lived out God’s will for His life.  We can lay down our plans at Jesus’ feet and strive to fit into God’s plans.  We can find God’s will for our lives by reading the Word and praying to God.  One thing I have learned in doing this is that God surely has created us to share His love through the ends of the Earth.

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I think one of the greatest things about reading the Bible is it lights a fire in my soul.  In reading, I find this huge desire to share God’s truths with every single person in the entire world.  When telling someone this once, the response was, “Oh no, at trick-or-treat time you would totally be one of those people that hand out tracts instead of candy!”  My response: “Absolutely, inside the tracts are the words people need to find God.” Do you desire to be the tract lady for Jesus, giving people His words they are in desperate need of?

Isaiah 55:8-11 in its entirety is absolutely beautiful, let us focus though on verses 10 and 11:

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

What words are we using when we fearlessly share the saving grace, love, and power of Jesus Christ with the lost and the hurting?  When we use God’s words instead of our words there will be victory every time in Heaven.  We know it is truth that God’s word shall not return to Him empty.  The words He sent out will fulfill His plan and not return void.  It is our job to be the messengers.  We are called to make God’s word known to others.  This means we must know His words.  We must not only know how to speak them to others, but we must also know how to live out God’s words with our actions.

We are the only Jesus some people will ever see.  That is not something to take lightly.  That is something to remind ourselves of daily.  When you are at home, at school, at work, in the grocery story, at the mall, (insert other here)…be Jesus.  Someone is always watching.  Let them see Jesus through you, let them see the TRUTH.  When you are a princess-warrior-in-training for the King of Kings, your actions matter just as much as your words matter.  Both are used to bring others to our Father in Heaven.  Others must see Jesus in us; we cannot get in their way from finding Jesus.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Let His words transform your actions to line up with what He is showing us to do.  We know what to do through His word, through prayer, and through Jesus’ life.  Let’s thank God for giving us the Bible, giving us access to Him through prayer, and giving us an amazing example of how to live a holy life, through His son, Jesus.

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Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us Your Holy Word.  Thank You for giving us the privilege of prayer where we can meet with You and hear from You.  Thank You for giving us Jesus’ life as an example for us, daily.  Thank You for giving us the desire to fulfill Your will for our lives.  Lord, I ask that You give us the strength and desire to lay aside our plans, and to fit into Your will for us. Lord, we give You glory for all You do in our lives and in the lives of those we encounter.  You are an amazing Savior!  Amen.

Lisa has one more question for us, and I encourage you to journal about your answer: “Do you want to do His will so all that was written of you will be something to behold?”  (Page 137) ~SELAH

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If you would like to join us for the “Girls with Swords” Online Bible/Book study, click HERE to be taken to our sign-up page.  Once you complete the enrollment process, we will email you further details.  We hope you will join us!