November 18, 2017

Love Came Down

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If my heart is overwhelmed
And I cannot hear Your voice
I hold on to what is true
Though I cannot see

If the storms of life they come
And the road ahead gets steep
I will lift these hands in faith
I will believe

I’ll remind myself
Of all that You’ve done
And the life I have
Because of Your Son

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours; Lord, I’m forever Yours
Mountains high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am Yours,  I am forever Yours

When my heart is filled with hope
Every promise comes my way
When I feel Your hands of grace
Rest upon me

I am Yours, I am Yours
All my days, Jesus, I am Yours

Staying desperate for You, God
Staying humble at Your feet
I will lift these hands in praise
I will believe

Yeah, I am Yours, I’m Yours, I am Yours
Jesus I am Yours

Kari Jobe ~ singer/songwriter

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Has your heart been overwhelmed?  Have there been storms in your life so dark that you couldn’t see your next step?  Who, or what, do you rely on during those times?

I know in my life it’s not if but when my heart is overwhelmed and when the storms of life come.  None of us are immune to troubles; after all, we live in a fallen world where sin abounds.  Thankfully, from the time I was born I was taught about the love of God through Jesus, and at an early age I accepted Jesus as my Savior.  (Read John 3:16-17.)  That certainly didn’t take away all the bad stuff that life brings, but it did give me Someone to look to for love and security.  And that has been my foundation when “the road ahead gets steep” or the “mountains high or valleys low.”

I’ve had some very dark days when I couldn’t see my next step. During those times “I’ll remind myself of all that You’ve done, and the life I have because of Your Son.”  The love of God rescued me as a child from sin and death, and His love continues to rescue me. Why? Because I am His!

But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much,
that even though we were dead because of our sins,
He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead.
(It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)
Ephesians 2:4-5

The following passage is a little long, but please take time to read it with a listening heart.  When you do, I believe your ‘mountain’ won’t seem too high, because of the reassurance that you are God’s and  that NOTHING can separate you from His love.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?  If God is for us, who can ever be against us?  Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?  …Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?  Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  …No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, Who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

from Romans 8:31-39

Your unfailing love will last forever.
Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.
Psalm 89:2

I am so thankful to sing:

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours
I am forever Yours

 Are you singing with me? I pray it is “yes and amen” for you, too!

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Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great love for each of us.  You have rescued us and set us free from sin and death, and for that we give You all praise and honor.  There are times when we are overwhelmed in the storms of life, but we have the security of knowing that You are always with us.  Knowing You love us fills us with hope.  Our hearts’ cry is to stay “desperate for You,” and “humble at Your feet.”  We are so thankful to sing, “I am Yours, I’m Yours, I am Yours, Jesus, I am Yours!”  In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen.

I Can Pray

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I may never sing a song that brings people to their feet
And mighty men of world renown I may never get to meet
But I have an invitation to hasten to His throne
To lay my burdens at His feet and make my petitions known

I can pray
Though the storm around me rages
I can trust the Rock of ages when I pray
And the peace I can’t explain when I call upon His Name
I just know I’m not the same when I pray

When it seems the road I’m trav’ling on just doesn’t have an end
I have found that He will be my brother and my friend
For He never will forsake me; He will always hear my plea
Because He stands beside the Father, interceding just for me

If my people
Who are called by My Name
Will humble themselves
Will humble themselves and pray

Singer/ Songwriter: Kim Culpepper
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I heard this song several months ago, and it spoke to me.  I put it in my ‘maybe’ list of songs to blog, not knowing when or if I was to share it.  Over the past two months a 16 year old young man in our church has been struggling with a deadly illness and has been through several brains surgeries already, with the almost certain need for more.  Our congregation, friends and family, both near and far, are praying for this boy!  What more can we do?!

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

Instead of worrying, pray.
Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers,
letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness,
everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.
It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

The songs I sing will never bring people to their feet, and won’t heal Zach.  The mighty men of world renown can visit him at his hospital bedside, but they can’t heal Zach.  This road that Zach and his family are traveling on seems to have no end.  This is a storm that is too great for any human to conquer.  Perhaps you, too, (physically, emotionally, or spiritually), are on a rugged road that seems to have no end, and are in a storm too great to conquer.

BUT GOD!  Each of us has an invitation to hasten to the Throne of the One and Only God, the Rock of Ages, Who can do anything, including heal our dear Zach and calm your storm. That is exactly what Zach’s parents, and we are doing daily, even moment-by-moment, and I encourage you to do the same.

Where else can we find peace?
Who else assures us that He hears our prayers?
Who else promises to never leave us or forsake us?
Who else can calm the storm?
Who else can heal Zach?
Who else can smooth your road?
No one, BUT GOD!

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive His mercy,
and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrews 14:16 NLT

Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD God is the eternal Rock.
Isaiah 26:4

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our Refuge.
Psalm 62:8

As one song says, “Our God is an awesome God, Who reigns in Heaven above, with wisdom, power, and love, our God is an awesome God.”  With that assurance, we run into God’s Throne Room, and lay our “burdens at His feet and make my (our) petitions known.”

It is there

  • we have the assurance that He hears our prayers
  • we know that Jesus is interceding before our Father for us
  • we find our peace
  • we find our answers
  • we are “not the same when I (we) pray.”

If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all,
how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?…
Christ Jesus is the One who died
—more than that, Who was raised—
Who is at the right hand of God, Who indeed is interceding for us….
Romans 8:31-39

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Whatever your storm is today, dear friend, believe that Jesus wants you to come to Him with it.  Believe He will take care of your need, no matter what is it.  When you can’t do anything else, YOU CAN PRAY.  And we, your sisters in Christ, will pray with you.  Jesus is waiting and listening…and answering.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 NIV

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.
Isaiah 26:3

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

Drops In The Ocean

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I want you as you are, not as you ought to be
Won’t you lay down your guard and come to Me
The shame that grips you now is crippling
It breaks My heart to see you suffering

‘Cause I am for you
I’m not against you

If you want to know
How far my love can go
Just how deep, just how wide
If want to see
How much you mean to Me
Look at My hands, look at My side
If you could count the times I say you are forgiven
It’s more than the drops in the ocean

Don’t think you need to settle for a substitute
When I’m the only love that changes you

And I am for you
I’m not against you
And I am for you
I’m not against you

I am for you,
I’m not against you

Hawk Nelson
Writers: Jon Steingard; Jason Ingram; Matt Bronleewe

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Do you hear God speaking to you through this song?  God says, “I want you as you are … come to Me … it breaks My heart to see you suffering.”

Then Jesus said,
“Come to Me,
all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

‘Cause I am for you
I’m not against you

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the LORD your God goes with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

For the LORD will not reject His people;
He will never forsake His inheritance.
Psalm 94:14

If you want to know
How far my love can go
Just how deep, just how wide

Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him.
Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should,
how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.
May you experience the love of Christ,
though it is too great to understand fully.
Then you will be made complete
with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love Me.
I will protect those who trust in My name.
When they call on Me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
and give them My salvation.”
Psalms 91:14-17

If you want to see
How much you mean to me
Look at my hands, look at my side
If you could count the times I say you are forgiven
It’s more than the drops in the ocean

But the Lord our God is merciful and forgiving,
even though we have rebelled against Him.
Daniel 9:9

He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.
Psalm 103:12

Once again You will have compassion on us.
You will trample our sins under Your feet
and throw them into the depths of the ocean!
Micah 7:19

Don’t think you need to settle for a substitute
When I’m the only love that changes you

He is so rich in kindness and grace
that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son
and forgave our sins.
Ephesians 1:7

Open your heart,
It’s time that we start again

But if we confess our sins to Him,
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
1 John 1:9

They found grace out in the desert,
…out looking for a place to rest,
[they] met God out looking for them!
God told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will.
Expect love, love, and more love!
And so now I’ll start over with you and build you up again…
Jeremiah 31:2-4 MSG

Do you see, my sisters, how much God loves you?!  In all these Scriptures and so many more, God tells us “I LOVE YOU!” There is no substitute for God’s love expressed in Jesus’ willingness to come and die for us. What love! He is always for us. He’s never against us. He always wants to forgive us. When shame grips us, when we are suffering, Jesus says, “Open your heart, it’s time we start again.”

YOU ARE FORGIVEN!  YOU ARE LOVED!

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Lord, thank You for expressing over and over again “how wide, how long, how high, and how deep” Your love is for each of us.  You are so rich in kindness and grace, that You forgive us more times than there are “drops in the ocean.”  Help us to always accept Your love and forgiveness.  Help us share this good news with others.  In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

There’s Within My Heart A Melody

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There’s within my heart a melody
Jesus whispers sweet and low
Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still
In all of life’s ebb and flow

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Sweetest Name I know
Fills my every longing
Keeps me singing as I go

All my life was wrecked by sin and strife
Discord filled my heart with pain
Jesus swept across the broken strings
Stirred the slumbering chords again

Feasting on the riches of His grace
Resting ’neath His sheltering wing
Always looking on His smiling face
That is why I shout and sing

Though sometimes He leads through waters deep
Trials fall across the way
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep
See His footprints all the way

Soon He’s coming back to welcome me
Far beyond the starry sky
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown
I shall reign with Him on high

Words and music: Luther Bridges

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The Name of Jesus is more than enough to take care of every need in your life:

  • Who saves us from our sins?  Jesus

He is the One all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in Him will have their sins forgiven through His Name.
Acts 10:43

  • Who heals the brokenhearted?  Jesus

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,”
Luke 4:18

  • Who gives us mercy and grace?  Jesus

Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

  • Who shelters us with His Wings?  Jesus

He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Psalm 91:4

  • Who leads us through the storms and trials of life?  Jesus

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2

  • Who can we follow and be secure?  Jesus

The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need…He guides me along right paths,…Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me…
Psalm 23

  • Who is our peace so we need not fear?  Jesus

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27

  • Who is coming again to welcome us Home!?  Jesus

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.
John 14:1-3

Jesus is truly the sweetest Name I know!  The power and the love that resides in the Name of Jesus, is more than enough to make me sing!  How about you?!

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Precious Jesus, You are worthy of all of our praise and worship!  You are our Savior, our Healer, our Protector, our Security, our Peace, our soon-coming King, and so much more!  Thank You, Jesus, that we can rest assured that all of our needs—spirit, soul, and body—can be satisfied in You.  In the Life-Giving Name of Jesus, Amen.

Thank You, Lord, For Saving My Soul

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Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul
Thank You, Lord, for making me whole
Thank You, Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free

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

~  Written by Seth and Bessie Sykes  /  Sung by Jimmy Swaggart  ~

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I’m writing this Hymn blog in remembrance of my mother, Leona Nelson Gilbert, who went to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, November 2010.  As far back as I can remember we sang the chorus of this song.  It was a favorite…in church, in our home, and even in our car.  The last place I heard my mom sing this chorus was in her bed as I would tuck her in at night.  She was 95+ years old.  We would talk, pray, and sing before she grew too tired to sing anymore. “God is So Good” and “Thank You, Lord, for Saving My Soul” were her two favorites.

In my research I found that this chorus is actually part of a hymn written by Seth and Bessie Sykes, copyrighted in 1940.

In 1929 Sykes left his job as a tramway conductor, and along with his wife became a full-time traveling evangelist, well known in the United Kingdom and the USA. Seth’s sermons led countless people to Christ and this hymn was most assuredly sung as a regular part of their services.

Click here and listen to this beautiful song along with the complete set of lyrics.

Our family, like so many others, went through some hard times, but my mother taught me that when Jesus is in my heart I always have a song to sing.  I don’t know if she ever knew the rest of the hymn but I know she would have liked it, because it thanks God for all that she held dear—family, friends, His creation, His joy, His grace, His great salvation.

Now she sings this chorus of praise as she looks upon His glorious face.  I’m looking forward to the day when I will join Mom in front of God’s Throne, and sing “Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul, Thank You, Lord, for making me whole.” Jesus gave us His great salvation so rich and free.  He gave His all.  I pray that I, like Mom, will give Him my all, all the days of my life.  My mother taught me that He is Worthy!

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good;
for His mercy endureth for ever.
1 Chronicles 16:34 KJV

Steve Green’s song, “Find Us Faithful” says, “May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe…” and that is exactly what Mom prayed and lived.  In whatever role(s) you play…mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, friend, or caregiver…never begrudge the time you take to play, sing, read, listen, or even “act silly” with a child.  It’s important!  That child is listening and learning from you.  Make every moment count–it’s eternally worth it.

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Dear Lord, thank You for saving our soul, thank You for making us whole. Thank You for the women in our lives who have shared Your love with us. Lord, in our busyness, remind us to take time to share Your love and salvation with others around us, especially the children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

CHRISTLife — FORTY: Embracing A Glorious Future

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What an opportunity, privilege, and awakening we have experienced in the last 39 days of this study.  We have been made aware again, or perhaps for the first time, that God created us because He loves us.  He created us on purpose to have a relationship and fellowship with Him.  We didn’t come crawling out of some swampland.  We came out of His heart.

We discovered that the ideal mirror to look into is not our bathroom mirror but the mirror of God’s Word, which is His Truth and His Love.  It is the “reliable, unchangeable grounds for accepting ourselves.” (Ruth Myers)

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1

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Yes, we each came into this study with images of ourselves influenced by our past; many of those were negative experiences, failures, and hurts.  But God chose this time, this study, and each of us to destroy those images and replace them with His image of us from His Word, transforming our minds to line up with His mind.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern  of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans 12:2

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For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

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But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16

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Through this study we have begun to recognize and accept God’s description of us, His followers.  We “have chosen the way of Truth” (Psalm 119:30, NKJV).  I flipped back through the book, CHRISTLife, and was blessed to read again what God calls us:

created, child of God, daughter, called, chosen, loved, saved, sanctified, desired, beloved’s, bride, quilt-free, blessed, clean, redeemed, forgiven, righteous, purified, justified, alive, alert, new, holy, victorious, obedient, Christ-like, delivered, united, fruitful, transformed, temple, priest(ess), filled, complete, receiver, empowered, strong, enlightened, belong, accepted, approved, friend, citizen, servant, worshiper, worthy, delighted in, favored, honored, royal, nurtured, satisfied, secure, treasured, competent, beautiful, bold, confident, overcomer, anointed, purposeful, witness…and more!

Wow!  After reading those I’m breaking out into a little song and dance—what about you!?  Those affirmations fill me with hope, and confidence for now and for my future. As Ruth Myers said, “In God’s unlimited view, He sees our increasing glory as His Spirit transforms us into finished works of art.”

…Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

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Ladies, these “works of art” (us!) weren’t created to hang on some museum wall and gather dust.  We weren’t even created to walk this dusty earth forever.  Oh no, God has created us for purpose: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’” declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).  Our hope will be complete when we meet Jesus face to face (Isaiah 33:17).   Our future will be for all eternity, worshiping and serving in the presence of our King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 1:5-6).

Time after time in the Scriptures, God shares His desire and plan for us to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  Here are just a few passages for you to look up as you study today:

John 3:14-17, 17:2-3
Psalm 16:11
Romans 6:22-23
1 Timothy 6:12
Titus 1:2, 3:4-7
1 John 1:2, 2:25
Jude 1:21
Revelation 3:5

Ecclesiastes 3:11 even tells us that He has set eternity in the hearts of men, even though we can’t fathom everything He has done for us.  God loves us, God has chosen us, God planned from before time began for us to spend eternity with Him.  That desire is in His heart, and He placed it in our hearts—and Jesus went to prepare a place for us (John 14:1-4).

If you have given your heart to Jesus, then you have everything you need to spend a glorious future in the very presence of our Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It’s time to embrace your true and deepest identity, for “God is the strength of your heart and your portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).   “I AM Who God Says I Am!”

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

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Dear Lord, we have completed the study of this book, but I pray that we never stop studying from Your Book what You have to say to us and about us.  Thank You for loving us and choosing us to be Your children so that we can spend both here and in Heaven a glorious future with You.  I pray that You, the God of peace, will sanctify each lady in this study through and through.  May their whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.   The One who “…calls each of us is faithful, and He will do it”(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).  I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

He Keeps Me Singing

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I grew up singing hymns and choruses. Today I love and sing the contemporary worship and praise songs of the day. But often as I worship, my mind goes back to those old hymns that tell such wonderful stories, and teach such wonderful Biblical truths.  This is one of those songs:

 ~ He Keeps Me Singing (There’s Within My Heart a Melody) ~

Luther B. Bridges, 1884-1948

There’s within my heart a melody Jesus whispers sweet and low,
Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still, In all of life’s ebb and flow.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Sweetest Name I know,
Fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.
All my life was wrecked by sin and strife, discord filled my heart with pain,
Jesus swept across the broken strings, stirred the slumbering chords again.
Feasting on the riches of His grace, resting ’neath His sheltering wing,
Always looking on His smiling face that is why I shout and sing.
Though sometimes He leads through waters deep, trials fall across the way,
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep, see His footprints all the way.
Soon He’s coming back to welcome me far beyond the starry sky;
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown, I shall reign with Him on high.

Luther Bridges wrote this song shortly after the tragic death of his wife and three sons in a house fire. How could he write such a beautiful song after such a tragedy!? He shared that the Lord spoke to him through The Word.

The Lord is my portion, saith my soul.
Lamentations 3:24

They that dwell in the secret place of the Most High
shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

As Luther wrote he remembered all that Jesus did for us.

Jesus suffered for us:
He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities…
We all, like sheep, have gone astray…
and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:5,6

He remembered God’s promises:
I will never leave you or forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.
Isaiah 43:2

He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge.
Psalm 91:4

In My Father’s house are many rooms…
I am going there to prepare a place for you…
I will come back and take you to be with Me.
John 14:1-4

My peace I give you.
John 14:27

All these promises and many more are wrapped up in one word…one Name—JESUS. That’s how Luther Bridges could move on from the tragic loss of his family; he said the Name of Jesus. He lived and breathed the Name of Jesus. Sisters, when you and I go through the trials of life, we must remember the sufferings Jesus went through for each of us, and we must remember His promises for us. Then we can say, we can sing, we can breathe the Name of JESUS, and walk through those trials.

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Oh Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, the sweetest Name I know. It fills my every longing, and keeps me singing as I go!  I pray, Lord, that this will be the song each of my sisters can sing from the depth of their heart.  In the sweetest Name of Jesus, Amen.

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Interested in joining us for our next Online Bible Study that starts on January 13, 2014?   Click HERE for more details!

Emmanuel

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This song only has 15 words (not counting the repeats) in the whole song. Hmm, it must not say much, right? Wrong! These 15 words are some of the most powerful words you will ever sing. Once those 15 words get down into your spirit, you will never be the same!

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
Wonderful Counselor
Lord of life, Lord of all
He’s the Prince of Peace
Mighty God, Holy One
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

 

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son,
and they shall call his name Emmanuel,
which being interpreted is, God with us.
Matthew 1:23

There are many more Scriptures that promise that God is with us.

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding,
so that we may know Him who is true. And we are in Him who is true—
even in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
1 John 5:20

Here’s a few others to look up: Isaiah 7:14, John 1:1,14, 1 Corinthians 3:16, Isaiah 44:24, 1 Corinthians 8:6.

Why is it important that we remember that God is with us through His Son Jesus? Look at Who Jesus is:

Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor:

For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:5-7

Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors.
Psalm 119:24

Jesus is the Lord of life:

I am the Bread of life.
John 6:48
I am the resurrection and the life.
John 11:25

Jesus is the Lord of all:

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel,
telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.”
Acts 10:36

Jesus is the Prince of Peace:
For unto us a child is born…Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.”
John 14:27

Jesus is Mighty God:

The Mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken,
and called the earth from the rising of the sun until the going down thereof.
Psalm 50:1

Jesus is the Holy One:

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.
Psalm 22:2-4

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Proverbs 9:9-11

Has Emmanuel been your focus during this Christmas season? As it comes to an end and we move back into the busy-ness of life, we will leave the Christmas carols behind but let’s not leave Jesus behind. Let’s take Jesus with us! Jesus is our all-in-all. He is everything we need. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. This is what God wants for us in 2014!

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Dear Jesus, I have just scratched the surface of what it means for us to have You—Emmanuel—living in and through our lives. As we move into 2014, I pray that we will take time to ponder and learn the depth of this Truth. We are so grateful that You are everything we need! We bow in humble adoration to our Counselor, our Lord, the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, the Holy One, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

 

Come On, Ring Those Bells

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Everybody likes to take a holiday
Everybody likes to take a rest
Spending time together with the family
Sharing lots of love and happiness.
Come on, ring those bells, light the Christmas tree,
Jesus is the King born for you and me.
Come on, ring those bells, everybody say,
Jesus, we remember this is Your birthday.

Celebrations come because of something good.
Celebrations we love to recall
Mary had a Baby boy in Bethlehem
The greatest celebration of all.
Come on, ring those bells, light the Christmas tree,
Jesus is the King born for you and me.
Come on, ring those bells, everybody say,
Jesus, we remember this is Your birthday.

Come On, Ring Those Bells ~ Evie Tornquist

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Isn’t it true—everybody loves to take a holiday, a rest from our normal busy schedules of life. Even our five year old granddaughter said after the Thanksgiving weekend, “We go back to school tomorrow!?”  She loves preschool, but she was loving the relaxed time with the family too.

That weekend we also celebrated “something good,” or should I say “something(s) good.” We had three family birthdays between the end of October and Thanksgiving that we hadn’t had time to celebrate, so all four celebrations were packed into one day. It was a full and fun day!

The greatest celebration of all, though, is to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus. Why is the birth of a little baby in a dusty, smelly stable so important that we should celebrate? The answer is in this carol—Jesus is the King born for you and me !

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David,
and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and of His kingdom there will be no end.
Luke 1:32-33

Jesus came for you and me! He came to rule and reign in our individual lives so that we can be reborn into new life—a living relationship for all eternity with God. I do believe that is worth ringing the bells and lighting the Christmas tree!  I do want everyone to say, “Happy birthday, Jesus!  We remember this is Your birthday.”

Let’s make a point of teaching our children and our grandchildren that Christmas isn’t about the gifts under the tree.   More importantly, it’s about God’s gift—Jesus as King and Savior—to us.

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because He has come and has redeemed His people.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us….
Luke 1:68-69

Then let’s teach them that they can give the gift of themselves to God as they submit their lives to Jesus.

His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation.
Luke 1:50

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.
One generation will commend Your works to another;
they will tell of Your mighty acts…
They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
Psalms 146:3-7

Come on and ring those bells with me, and light your Christmas tree!
JESUS IS OUR REASON TO CELEBRATE!

We Three Kings

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We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

Every year our six grandkids and I put on a skit depicting a portion of the story of the Nativity.  (I’m the narrator.)  One year it’s the story of the shepherds and the next year it’s of the wise men/the kings.  As I thought of the wise men skit, naturally I thought of this old Christmas carol.  But I was stopped at the second line and the first two words—“bearing gifts.”

They (the wise men) entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary,
and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasure chests
and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11

Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.
Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, voices raising,
Worshiping God on high.
Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorr’wing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.

When I think of bearing gifts to this Christmas Child, I have to wonder exactly what “gifts” do I give?  What part of my life do I give that is as the gift of gold which crowns Jesus as King of my life?  Does my life of prayer, praise, and worship have the sweet smell of frankincense rising up to my God?  And is my reverence for my Savior as the perfume of myrrh?  Lastly, I have to ask myself if I’m taking the time with the grands to instill in them the importance of bearing gifts to Jesus?

I’m still pondering exactly what my gifts are and will be.  It doesn’t seem that anything I can give Him is enough, and yet all He asks of me is myself.

O, Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Psalms 51:15-17

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God
a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess His Name.
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Hebrews 13:15

Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Sounds through the earth and skies.

I pray that you will join me in bearing gifts to Jesus this season and everyday. “Alleluia, Alleluia,” sings my soul to my King, my God, and my Savior—The Perfect Light.