August 20, 2017

Have Everything

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

The first time I met You, I was on my knees
Praying, “Lord, if You’re out there, can You speak to me?”
‘Cause I was in a desperate place,
My life looked like a hurricane
The moment I felt Your grace

You can have me, You can have everything
Oh, I am Yours
Not holding on, onto anything
But Your promise, Lord
It’s a new day, it’s a new dawn
I’ve found a place where I belong
Nothing I want more than what You’ve given me
Hey, so You can have everything
You can have everything
You can have everything

You are like the sunshine in the dead of night
You’re the only One standing when my world ignites
So why would I hold anything back
‘Cause You keep my world intact
It’s true, oh, God, it’s true, so I’ll say

Every day
I’m gonna wake up, gonna wake up
Wake up and say
You can have me, have everything

David Dunn
written along with Justin Ebach

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I love to talk to Jesus when I’m on my knees.  It’s a position of total surrender and love and submission.  And my prayers will be…to let Him have everything.  To surrender all the worldly things that I hold on to and worry about, and to know that when its dark, He shines so bright!

Most of the time, left on our own, our lives can really be a mess and God is the only One Who can straighten them out.  But all we have to do is ask Him to take over!  How simple is that?  So simple that we sometimes forget that He can.

Daily, we must empty ourselves of our own agenda and ask God to fill us with His.  You don’t have to be in a desperate place to cry out to Him, but if you are, there is no better place to be than at His feet.

As you listen to this today, may you use these words as a prayer to Him today.  No matter where you are or what you are struggling with, He is not far away.  He always answers the prayers of His children.  Are you far from God?  He is close to the brokenhearted and He will shelter you from all this world.  All you have to do is ask!

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NLT

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 KJV

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Dear Lord, You are so awesome and full of love for us.  You never change.  Thank You for being there for us as a constant.  For sheltering us from storms and giving us hope in this hard world.  You are the light in the darkness and the lover of our souls.  Today, I pray for those who are hurting and need You.  I pray that they would release it all into Your mighty hands.  We love You and we praise You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Flawless

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

There’s got to be more
Than going back and forth
From doing right to doing wrong
‘Cause we were taught that’s who we are
Come on get in line right behind me
You along with everybody
Thinking there’s worth in what you do

Then like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace

No matter the bumps
No matter the bruises
No matter the scars
Still the truth is
The Cross has made
The Cross has made you flawless
No matter the hurt
Or how deep the wound is
No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The Cross has made
The Cross has made you flawless

Could it possibly be
That we simply can’t believe
That this unconditional
Kind of love would be enough
To take a filthy wretch like this
And wrap him up in righteousness
But that’s exactly what He did

Take a breath smile and say
Right here right now I’m ok
Because the Cross was enough

MercyMe
Songwriters:  SOLOMON OLDS, BEN GLOVER, NATHAN COCHRAN, MIKE SCHEUCHZER, BARRY GRAUL, ROBBY SHAFFER, BART MILLARD, DAVID ARTHUR GARCIA

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Is it too hard for you to accept that Your worst sin has been forgiven? I know that feeling.  If we are honest we have all struggled with that.
Why can’t we just accept that the Cross is enough to cleanse us white as snow?

I love the lyrics to this song.  It could actually be a prayer that we repeat day after day reminding us of just how flawless Jesus has made us.

Just when you think you’ve done it all, God sends His grace to erase it all and give you a fresh start.  You get a clean slate every single day to write a new story on.  And when you let the Holy Spirit work in you, the story can be so incredible and joyful and full of His peace.

So that thing you’re holding onto…the one thing that you can’t forgive yourself for…the mistakes you made and still dwell on—it’s time to let Him have it because He already erased it.  His Son washed you white as snow!  I pray today that you claim it.  And praise God that He made you new!!!!

Let us pray: Dear God,  You make us flawless!  You sent Your Son to die so that we would be forgiven for everything and anything that we will ever do.  You love us that much.  Thank You, Lord!  Help us today to let go of all of the baggage and start over in You!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Just As I Am

Many of you have gone on Spring Break or are anticipating taking a vacation this summer.  It is a time to refresh spirit, soul, and body.  Over the next couple of weeks, our faithful bloggers will be taking a ‘spring break’ from writing so that they can come back to us refreshed and freshly anointed.
However, Girlfriends’ Coffee Hour website won’t ‘go black’!  We will be revisiting some of our favorite blogs and daily devotions which have blessed us in the past.  We pray that each of you, our faithful friends and readers, will continue to start your day meditating on the devotionals and songblogs, and be encouraged and blessed.

Let’s give each of our bloggers a big round of applause,
a hug, 
and the rest they so deserve.  God bless you, ladies!

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Just as I am – without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee – O Lamb of God, I come

Just as I am – and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot
To Thee, whose blood can cleanse each spot – O Lamb of God, I come

Just as I am – though toss’d about with many a conflict, many a doubt
Fightings and fears within, without – O Lamb of God, I come

Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind; sight, riches, healing of the mind
Yea, all I need, in Thee to find – O Lamb of God, I come

Just as I am – Thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve
Because Thy promise I believe – O Lamb of God, I come

Just as I am – Thy love unknown has broken every barrier down
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone – O Lamb of God, I come

Just as I am – of that free love; the breadth, length, depth, and height to prove
Here for a season, then above – O Lamb of God, I come

Michael Neale
written by Charlotte Elliott

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May 15, 1975, in Jackson, Mississippi, at a Billy Graham Crusade, I took my Daddy’s hand and walked down flights and flights of stairs to the stage where Mr. Graham was preaching and made my public profession of faith.  The Holy spirit moved in me during this hymn—and my life was forever changed.  As I sit here, with my sweet daddy’s brown Bible open to where he wrote all about that day, I am so grateful. I have Jesus as my Savior and I will never be the same. Never underestimate the power of music, sweet friends!

“Just As I Am” was written by Charlotte Elliot.  Her life was a testimony of patience and endurance in suffering—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She was ill in her 40’s with pain that was often debilitating.  She felt useless to God until,  one night before a bazaar to benefit a school, she began to question everything.  She started thinking that maybe God was just an illusion of emotions… that maybe that’s what spirituality is.  The next day, she felt her life questions must be met and conquered in the grace of God.  So there, she took a pen and paper and wrote for her own comfort, “the formula of her faith.”  She then had it published in “The Invalid’s Hymn Book.”

For years now, “Just As I Am” has been sung as a hymn of invitation in church gatherings all over the U.S. and beyond.  But to me it is personal—it’s my salvation—and it is where my relationship with my Lord began.  And so I wrote my own words of commitment:

~Just as I am – not having to say or do anything, You died and shed Your blood for me, and that You would have us come to You, – O Lamb of God, yes, we come!

~Just as I am – right now, rid my soul of this darkness and sin, even one. Your blood can cleanse it all – O Lamb of God, yes, we come!

~Just as I am – though I am trudging through mud and trials. I have so many conflicts and sometimes I doubt You. I choose fear over faith sometimes – but You call and I come!

~Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind. Yet You give sight, riches, blessings, and healing, both physically and spiritually and emotionally. Yet, all I need is You, in You I find complete healing, when I seek You, I find You – O Jesus, I come!

~Just as I am – right where I am, You accept me, You receive me with open arms. I am welcomed, pardoned, cleansed and relieved!!! Because all Your promises are true and You always come through – O Lamb of God, I come!

~Just as I am – Your love unknown has broken down every barrier, every one! Now to be Yours, yes Yours alone – O God, I come!

~Just as I am – Your love is free. It stretches to the Heavens and there is no end to it, here for a season, then above – O Lamb of God, I come!!!

We come, on our knees, to Him and He receive us with open arms, always!  Where are you today? God knows and He cares;  and He loves you so much!  Run to Him and rest.  He is waiting.

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Let us pray:  Dear God, this hymn in itself is our prayer.  Just as we are, without one plea, we thank You for shedding Your blood for us, so that we are free to live with You forever.  Thank You for breaking down the barriers for us. Thank You for Your endless love that is freely given.  You forgive and forgive again; and You accept each of just as we are.  Lamb of God, we come.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Child Forgiven

 Many of you have gone on Spring Break or are anticipating taking a vacation this summer.  It is a time to refresh spirit, soul, and body.  Over the next couple of weeks, our faithful bloggers will be taking a ‘spring break’ from writing so that they can come back to us refreshed and freshly anointed. 

However, Girlfriends’ Coffee Hour website won’t ‘go black’!  We will be revisiting some of our favorite blogs and daily devotions which have blessed us in the past.  We pray that each of you, our faithful friends and readers, will continue to start your day meditating on the devotionals and songblogs, and be encouraged and blessed.

Let’s give each of our bloggers a big round of applause, a hug,
and the rest they so deserve.  God bless you, ladies!

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

The Gaither Vocal Band
Songwriters: Suzanne Jennings and Bill Gaither

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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

He’s Alive!

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

The gates and doors were barred
And all the windows fastened down
I spent the night in sleeplessness
And rose at every sound
Half in hopeless sorrow
And half in fear the day
Would find the soldiers breakin’ through
To drag us all away

And just before the sunrise
I heard something at the wall
The gate began to rattle
And a voice began to call
I hurried to the window
Looked down into the street
Expecting swords and torches
And the sound of soldiers’ fee

But there was no one there but Mary
So I went down to let her in
John stood there beside me
As she told us where she’d been
She said they might have moved Him in the night
And none of us knows where
The stone’s been rolled away
And now His body isn’t there

We both ran toward the garden
Then John ran on ahead
We found the stone and empty tomb
Just the way that Mary said
But the winding sheet they wrapped Him in
Was just an empty shell
And how or where they’d taken Him
Was more than I could tell

Oh something strange had happened there
Just what I did not know
John believed a miracle
But I just turned to go
Circumstance and speculation
Couldn’t lift me very high
‘Cause I’d seen them crucify Him
Then I saw Him die

Back inside the house again
The guilt and anguish came
Everything I’d promised Him
Just added to my shame
When At last it came to choices
I denied I knew His name
And even if He was alive
It wouldn’t be the same

But suddenly the air was filled
With a strange and sweet perfume
Light that came from everywhere
Drove the shadows from the room
And Jesus stood before me
With His arms held open wide
And I fell down on my knees
And I just clung to Him and cried

Then He raised me to my feet
And as I looked into His eyes
The love was shining out from Him
Like sunlight from the skies
Guilt in my confusion
Disappeared in sweet release
And every fear I’d ever had
Just melted into peace

He’s alive, He’s alive
He’s alive and I’m forgiven
Heaven’s gates are open wide
He’s alive, He’s alive

Written and sung by Don Francisco

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I cannot think of a better song to represent suffering for your actions and attitudes.  The guilt and shame we carry for an act for which our head knew we should not do, but our fear and emotions reacted first.

Peter is such an excellent example of this and how much Jesus loves us. We may not walk physically with Jesus as Peter did, but He is right there, waiting on us to call upon Him as we would a trusted friend.  Jesus, of all people, knew what Peter was going to do but He also knew what Peter was capable of once he was forgiven and released from his sin.  Sisters, that is what God wants for us! He wants us to be released from our guilt and shame…to turn away from our sin…to rely on God’s love, grace, and mercy.

Another great example of Jesus’ forgiveness and love is the woman who was caught in adultery (Luke chapter 7) and brought before Jesus to be condemned.  I cannot imagine how she felt, appearing before all of the people, with her sin being proclaimed in the open, in front of the temple. As the men were trying to trick Jesus, He cleverly reminded them to not be so hasty in their attempt to throw stones.

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—
as her great love has shown.
But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.
Luke 7:47 NIV

God loves His people, Jews and Gentiles alike. He does not want to condemn us…our sins, yes…but not us.  Jesus commanded husbands to love their wives as He loves.  Unconditionally, without reservation, without restraint.

Today, seek out areas where you can love more and better and  unconditionally.  Today, ask for the Holy Spirit to show you where you are forgiven and let the ‘strange,  sweet perfume’ surround your senses (as this song describes Peter’s experience). Wow!

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Father, we love You! Thank You for the reminder from Don Francisco of Your unconditional love. I want a most intimate relationship with You.  Help me shrug off all of the years of guilt and shame.  Help me surrender them all to You so You can build a brand-new me that honors and glorifies You in everything I do.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

At The Cross (Love Ran Red)

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

There’s a place where mercy reigns and never dies,
There’s a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down

At the Cross
At the Cross
I surrender my life
I’m in awe of You
I’m in awe of You
Where Your love ran red
And my sin washed white
I owe all to You
I owe all to You, Jesus

There’s a place where sin and shame are powerless
Where my heart has peace with God and forgiveness
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down

Here my Hope is found
Here on holy ground
Here I bow down
Here arms open wide
Here You save my life
Here I bow down
Here I bow down

Written by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jonas Myrin, Matt Armstrong, Matt Redman

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The center stage of our Christian faith is the Cross.  There our Savior, Jesus Christ, allowed Himself to be hanged on that torturous cross to bleed, suffocate, and die.  Why would anyone do such a thing? Because,

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

Sin and shame imprison everyone.  They bind us in chains that cannot be broken—but for God.  God in His mercy (His compassion) and grace (unmerited favor) loved(s) us, His creation, so much that He chose to make the perfect sacrifice for all people through the crucifixion of His Son, Jesus.  Jesus’ blood was more powerful than any sin or shame that we have ever endured or will ever endure.  Jesus shed His blood for each of us.  His blood dripping from that Cross was His love running red, flowing down into the very depths of our soul to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Here are just a few Scriptures that make it clear that we in our sins are powerless, but that the blood from God’s perfect sacrifice, Jesus His Son, is powerful enough to wash our ugly sins as white as snow.

All of us also lived among them (children of disobedience) at one time,
gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.
Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions
—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:3-5

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.
And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous.
He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.
For God presented Jesus as the Sacrifice for sin.
People are made right with God
when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood.
Romans 3:22-25

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
Isaiah 1:18

The Royal blood of Jesus is more powerful than all our sins.  His “love ran red and my (our) sin washed white.”  There at the Cross sin is powerless.  There at the Cross is where love, forgiveness, hope, and peace are found.  When we personally accept Jesus’ great sacrificial love for ourselves, we are made right with God.  From that point on we can have a personal relationship with Him.  His Holy Spirit will dwell with us.  And we can be assured that we will spend eternity with God.

If you have not yet accepted God’s love for you, please take the time today to do this.  God gave His Son.  Jesus gave His blood.  What are you willing to give for such love?  I pray that you give Him your all.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3

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Dear Jesus, thank You so much for allowing Yourself to be the Sacrifice, once and for all, to save us from our sins and shame.  We bow before You on holy ground with our arms open wide, because here at the Cross Your blood (love) ran red so our sins could be washed white. You have saved us.  Herein is our Hope.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord!  In Jesus’ Name we praise and worship our God of Love.  Amen, It is so!

 

Take Heart

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv
There is a Light
It burns brighter than the sun
He steals the night
And casts no shadow
There is Hope
Should oceans rise and mountains fall
He never fails

So take heart
Let His love lead us through the night
Hold on to hope
And take courage again

In death by love
The fallen world was overcome
He wears the scars of our freedom
In His Name
All our fears are swept away
He never fails

All our troubles
And all our tears
God our Hope
He has overcome
All our failures
And all our fear
God our Love
He has overcome
All our heartache
And all our pain
God our Healer
He has overcome
All our burdens
And all our shame
God our Freedom
He has overcome
All our troubles
And all our tears
God our Hope
He has overcome
All our failures
And all our fear
God our Love
He has overcome
God our Justice
God our Grace
God our Freedom
He has overcome
God our Refuge
God our Strength
God is with us
He has overcome

Songwriter: Joel Houston ~~  Hillsong United

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Oh, how I love His promises.  They comfort us in all situations.  Whether you need healing physically or you need chains to be broken—He is always the answer.  There is no burden too heavy that He can’t carry it for you.

If there is one thing we know for sure it is that this world is changing daily (and not always for the better).  There is so much hurt and anger, there are so many lost people trying to find an answer and searching for a little hope.  But we as Jesus’ followers know that Hope—and His name is Jesus.  He never changes and He never fails.  He is our strength and He is our refuge in times of trouble.  And He is that Light in the midst of this dark world.

God is just so full of grace and mercy, and so much love.  Every fear and every failure, He has already conquered it for us.  He has overcome this world.  And to prove to us just how much He loves us, He sent Jesus, His only Son, to die for us so that we can live in Heaven forever with Him.  In His hands, He bears the scars of the nails and every sin that we would ever commit hung on that cross that day.  Do you realize that we are free?

What do you need freedom from today?  If you have  just a little faith, He can move that mountain in front of you.   He can break the chains of addictions.  He can take anger away. He can give peace to the one who suffers from anxiety…and grace and mercy to the one who can’t forgive himself.  I pray as you listen to this worship song that you will let His love wash over you.  I pray that you feel loved because you are.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me.
Here on this earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

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Let us pray:
Dearest Lord, You are so awesome and amazing!  You are our Portion and Strong Tower in this shifting world.  Thank You for taking our burdens and giving us peace. Thank You for the grace and love You give so freely. You have overcome and You give us strength.  May we take this light that You give us and share it with all who will listen.  You are good, You are God, and You are still on the throne.  We love You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What Is A Peacemaker

encouragementbloggraphicromans15

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:18 NIV

I am a peacemaker by nature; a conflict resolver at any cost, or at least I used to be.  I don’t think that is the kind of peacemaker James is referring to.  He is actually talking about healthy peacemakers who are personally at peace with God‘s authority and willing to bring a sense of peace wherever they go.  It doesn’t matter who they are with…they just have that gift.

Turn in your Bible to James 3:13-4:1

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.  What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? (New Living Translation)

What a hard question he is asking the people!  And what kind of answer do you think you would have given him?  What does cause the fighting among God’s people?  I think the answer comes in the second question that is asked: “Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?”  That answer is yes.

The fact is: conflict is part of our human condition.  It exists in most households, offices, and churches.  But just because there is conflict, doesn’t mean that there has to be fighting and quarreling.  However, they usually go hand in hand, especially if people are not willing to take responsibility for their own part in an argument.  They find someone or something to blame for their actions instead of just admitting the wrong that they did or the words that they said.

But God calls us to be different.  As His children, we pray for the wisdom to do the hard things—like admitting we were wrong and asking for forgiveness.  He calls us to be humble, knowing that we are human and will make mistakes. Read James 3:13 again.  The writer is reminding us that one who is wise and understands God’s ways will show it by deeds done in humility.  Saying we are sorry requires humility and that means admitting to others that we are actually wrong sometimes.  (We don’t like that very much.)  But in order to be the light that Jesus calls us to be and to be the witness that leads others to Him we must right our wrongs.

This is the kind of peacemaker that God calls us to be.  The kind that humbles themselves and shows love to others.  Seeking God’s wisdom delivers us from the need to be right all the time and helps us become the humble servant to those that we come in contact with.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
Matthew 5:9

 { You are a child of God….  }

Do you know this God that loves you so much?  He is your Father and He wants so much to be in your life.  Or maybe you know Him but you’ve moved away from Him and need to get back on track.  If so, He is waiting and He will meet you right where you are.

I would love for you to pray this prayer with me today:

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and I need forgiveness.  I am far from You today and I want to change that.  I believe that Jesus is Your Son and He died for my sins.  I ask that Jesus come into my heart today and be Lord of my life.  Walk with me…gve me more knowledge of You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Seventy Times Seven

SeekingHimLogo

The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
He does not punish us for all our sins;
He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.
For He knows how weak we are;
He remembers we are only dust.
Psalm 103:8-14 NLT

Forgiveness is a big deal in the Christian faith.  We are saved because God loves us so much that He forgives us of our sins.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous.
He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
Romans 3:23-24

Nothing more, nothing less.  We can easily forget that we are freely forgiven our sins— especially, in comparison to forgiving others.  Forgiveness gives you more healing than it does the offender, and it hurts you more than the offender when you don’t forgive.  However, the point I want to focus on is that God freely forgives us, so we should freely forgive others.

I’d like to point out that God didn’t forgive a few sins, or some sins, but all our sins.

You were dead because of your sins because your sinful nature was not yet cut away.
Then God made you alive with Christ, for He forgave all our sins.
He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the Cross.
Colossians 2:13-14

We all have had something done to us that could warrant unforgiveness.  But if God Almighty, the Creator betrayed by His creations, can forgive all of mankind…then we can forgive our fellow man as well.

Jesus explains to us how we should forgive in the parable of the unforgiving debtor.  To summarize this parable found in Matthew 18:21-35:

Peter asked Jesus how many times he was to forgive someone who sins against him and Jesus told him ‘seventy times seven’.  And then proceeds to tell him about a king who decided to collect on some debt from his servants: one debtor owed him millions of dollars and couldn’t pay, so the king ordered that him and all he owned be taken away to settle the debt.  The debtor begged the king for forgiveness and was granted mercy. However, when the man left he went to collect a debt from someone who owed him thousands of dollars and when this debtor asked him for forgiveness the forgiven man did not extend forgiveness like he had been given.  The king was informed of this and the man he had previously forgiven was thrown into prison.

I’ve heard it said that you can give away what you yourself have received because you should understand the situation a little more personally.  Jesus didn’t say that certain things weren’t to be forgiven.  He said, “Seventy times seven.”  So… just forgive.

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Lord, help me to be as forgiving as You are.  Sometimes it is extremely hard to want to forgive others; but with Your help, guidance, and strength—anything is possible.  Lord, show me who or what You would like me to forgive today so that I may move forward and be freed from unforgiveness.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Child Forgiven

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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

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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