July 21, 2017

Jesus Is All The World To Me

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Jesus is all the world to me,
My life, my joy, my all;
He is my strength from day to day,
Without Him I would fall.
When I am sad, to Him I go,
No other one can cheer me so;
When I am sad, He makes me glad,
He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me,
My Friend in trials sore;
I go to Him for blessings, and
He gives them o’er and o’er.
He sends the sunshine and the rain,
He sends the harvest’s golden grain;
Sunshine and rain, harvest of grain,
He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me,
And true to Him I’ll be;
Oh, how could I this Friend deny,
When He’s so true to me?
Following Him I know I’m right,
He watches o’er me day and night;
Following Him by day and night,
He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me,
I want no better Friend;
I trust Him now, I’ll trust Him when
Life’s fleeting days shall end.
Beautiful life with such a Friend,
Beautiful life that has no end;
Eternal life, eternal joy,
He’s my Friend.

CRC Worship
written by Will Thompson

This song came into my mind a few weeks ago, and I kept “singing” it over and over.  I noticed that the word “Friend” was in each verse at least once.  Mr. Thompson referred to Jesus as his ‘Friend’. I decided to go to Biblegateway.com to look at Scriptures with “friend” in them.  There are 170 verses in the NIV translation with that term and many more with references to friendship.  Some verses refer to betrayal or jealousy, while others refer to intimacy.  The verses I pulled out refer to the personal friendship with God and Jesus that means “all the world to me.”

Even now my Witness is in Heaven; my Advocate is on high.
My Intercessor is my friend, as my eyes pour out tears to God;
on behalf of a man He pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.
Job 16:19-20

A friend loves at all times,…
Proverbs 17:17

…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24

One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace
will have the King for a friend.
Proverbs 22:11

When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
Luke 5:20

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:13-15

Here are just a few more “friend” verses that you may want to read at your convenience: Exodus 33:11, Song of Songs 5:16, Matthew 11:19, Luke 12:4, James 2:23.

There have been (and will be) times when we fall, and we fail to do God’s perfect will.  I’m so thankful that Jesus is there for us.  He is our Strength, and lifts us up back into fellowship with Him.  In Him we find true joy.  Jesus is “all the world to me!

The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
Psalm 145:14

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10

…and those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah 35:10

When we are in fellowship with Jesus, we will experience blessings even when we are going through trials.  That’s because wherever Jesus is blessings are too.  They are a part of Him, and we are the benefactors.  Jesus is “all the world to me.”

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms
because we are united with Christ.
Ephesians 1:3

There is no truer Friend you or I can have than Jesus who laid down His life for us (John 15:13), and promises us that He will never forsake us. Jesus is “all the world to me.

…be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
Because of our friendship with Jesus, we have this assurance:

Beautiful life with such a Friend,
Beautiful life that has no end;
Eternal life, eternal joy,
He’s my (your) Friend.

And we know 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, in His Son Jesus Christ.
He is the true God and eternal life.
1 John 5:20

Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life.
The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die;
and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die.
John 11:25

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21:4

Is Jesus your Friend?  If not, He’s waiting for you.  My friendship with Jesus means “all the world to me,”  and I pray you can say the same.  You will have “no better Friend.”

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me.”
Revelation 3:20

 

Dear Jesus, thank You for laying down Your life and rising to new life for us. Through Your ultimate sacrifice, You made the way for us to become Your friend, a part of Your family. We have no better Friend. You are our life, our joy, our all. You are “all the world to us.” Thank You! We give You our all to be Your friend. In Your Holy Precious Name we pray, Amen.

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 7 – The Causes Of Relapse (pp 208-211)

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.

James 4:10

 

Today we are going to take a look at the Causes of Relapse:

1. We Revert to our own willpower
2. We ignore the choices
3. We try to recover without support
4. We become prideful

I use to tell myself, if I just don’t go to a bar, drink any alcohol, start going regularly to church, and stay away from people who party and drink, then I do not ever have to worry about relapse. Ha! While these things are good to follow, it’s not always going to work. In fact, without any support—whether your addiction is alcohol, drugs, sex, food, etc.,—more than likely you will relapse without support. Why is it so hard for us to understand that we cannot do these things on our own? Here we go again with trying to take back control and do things our self. It seems like after failing so badly before, we would not try it again. There is that stubbornness in us. Here is a simple example—me cutting my hair (maybe you can relate). I always mess it up. I think that if I just hold my bangs at a different position, then it should turn out straight and will look better. Besides, I don’t need to spend money by getting a hairdresser to do it when I can. Reality is…I can’t. I always mess it up trying to do it myself. I end up with crooked bangs that always need to be straightened out by the hairdresser. It seems like after trying this so many times and failing, I would finally realize that I need someone to do it for me.

This may be a silly example, but the basic idea applies to everything we have a hard time with. We need help from others. When we are in the middle of a crisis, if we are struggling and thinking about picking up that cigarette we quit a few years ago, wouldn’t it be a good idea to talk with someone who might remind us that it’s not good to go that direction again.  We need someone to talk to. Yes, God above all is who we go to and pray for help, share our hurts, fears, and tears with, but He wants us to reach out to others and to be in healthy relationships. If someone we know can talk with us when we get frazzled and feel like we are falling, they can help get us back up. We cannot do it alone.

In the Bible it says, Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. The point is that we need others. We need someone who will hold us accountable, support us, and encourage us.

One of the biggest problems I deal with is my pride. During the last 2 years there have been times I thought, “Wow, I’m doing so good…not having cravings anymore…and I am finally getting on with my life, and it’s all good! My depression has lifted, and anxiety is lessened.  I don’t need to talk to my friends and husband about my problems anymore. They probably don’t want to hear it after all they put up from me in the past. Besides, they think I am doing so good, I can’t let them down or admit I am struggling a bit, that would mean defeat. All the work staying sober, forming new relationships, and my new life I have given to Christ, no way will I feel defeat!”

My pride is a HUGE defect. I blame others for why I react in anger. I tell myself it’s their fault and I shouldn’t be the one to apologize. Pride is something I struggle with and want to change. But, thankfully, I am starting to see it in myself more each day. I don’t like the way I feel afterward. Honestly, I can only describe it as a conscience and although I don’t want to admit I’m ever wrong, I do try. I don’t always do it, but deep down I know it’s the right thing to do. It feels super good to do the right thing and be humble. Pride can take us places that can destroy our relationships and it builds a wall between us and God. Baker states, “The Bible reminds us, ‘If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 1 Corinthians 10:12.  Baker goes on to say, you have been working hard on “getting it all together,” “but you don’t have it all together.” So what’s the secret to lasting recovery? Baker states that we are to live in humility. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up James 4:10.

The best protection against relapse is Humility.

No one is perfect. No one has everything all together. If you think you do, watch out. Our greatest weakness is often unguarded strength. Just remember these words, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” 1 Corinthians 10:12. Watch out, and be careful.

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Let’s Pray:

Father God, thank You for Your love, forgiveness, patience, and strength You give us. Lord, it’s hard to humble ourselves. We seek help doing this. Teach us humility. Lord, reveal to us our pride. Help us to reach out and ask for help. Lord, we need You in all things! Lord, without You we fall. Thank You for always protecting us and giving us relationships with friends who we can lean on. We love You!  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Your Assignment:

Spend some special time with the Lord today. Ask Him to reveal areas in your life you need help with. Write these down and find that friend to share with. Let go of that pride!

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If you would like to send a private email to Leslie in regards to this blog, please email her at: Leslie@GirlfriendsCoffeeHour.com

Life’s Healing Choices: Chapter 5 – The Transformation (Reading Assignment)

Choice 5: Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.

“God blesses those people who want to obey Him more than to eat or drink.  They will be given what they want!” (Matthew 5:6 CEV)

The hardest part for those of us who like to be in control of our circumstances (and lives) is surrendering ALL to His authority, and being willing to submit to EVERY change He brings to us.  John Baker starts Chapter 5 by describing how it’s against our nature to change our behaviors.  It’s so much easier to keep doing what we’ve been doing.  It’s been said that changing a habit takes around 30 days of consistent behavior to make it stick.  How many of us actually try for that long?  Here we are in February, how many of you are holding firm to the New Year’s resolutions you made?

The scars we bear from our life experiences did not happen overnight, and we cannot expect change to be rapid.  Over the past four weeks, we’ve been preparing our hearts and minds for the changes God wants to do in our lives.  He’s been working in us through this time, but it’s also been a time of preparation.  Romans 12:1, 2 says that we are to “be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable…let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (NLT).

Do you take the time to read a passage in different translations?  Sometimes you can get more insight, clarification, and direction by what the various translations offer.  From The Message, we read the same passage in Romans, “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your every day, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

How awesome is that?  God is helping us.  God wants the best for us.  He will change us inside and out.  Another promise of The Father we can hold on to when we don’t think we can keep on this journey.

Chapter 5 will discuss where our character defects come from, why it takes so long to get rid of them, and how we cooperate with God during this transformation process.  A key point for me in this process is to remember my identity in Christ, who He says I am.  Baker says, “Notice their identity is in their belief in Christ…they do not allow character defects to become their identity” (pp 133, 134).

Almost 17 years ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  It’s a chronic pain syndrome that many don’t fully understand.  Even with almost 11 years together, my husband still doesn’t “get it” on many days, though he has learned to be more patient and tolerant of my episodes.  Pain, muscle tenderness, weakness and tingling are common place for me.  On a daily basis something hurts, usually my back, hips and shoulders.  But I also get tingling and swelling in my feet and hands; and fatigue…oh boy, do I get tired!  Some days I feel like I over-exerted myself the day before.  Other days, I feel like I’m battling the worst flu virus ever.  And, the only thing I can do is manage symptoms; there is no cure.  I have medications to take.  I give in to the afternoon nap.  I opt to sit as an observer than push my body in an activity I know I’ll regret later.  I get massages (much too infrequently) from a therapist who knows how to treat my body.  And, I try to enjoy walking as an easy, low-stress exercise for my body.  Keeping it moving helps keep it from tightening up even more.

Now, I know there are people with fibromyalgia who are truly affected more severely than I am, so this is not meant to disregard the severity of their situations.  Many are unable to work, enjoy activities, or function on a normal level.  I’ve never been affected so badly that I cannot “do life.”  I may not want to do something, but it’s a mental attitude not a physical limitation.  But what if I gave in to my pain and let it determine who I am?  If I focused on what I have, rather than who I am, how much different would my life be?  I might refuse to leave my bed.  I might quit my job because it’s just too much effort.  I might refuse to care for my family; instead asking them to tend to my needs.

But I am a person with fibromyalgia.  It does not have me.  Just like I am a child of Christ with sin, sin does not have me.  I have freedom in Christ.  And, it’s His freedom that also provides comfort during my fibro-flares (periods when it is worse).  It is His strength that pushes me through.  It is His wisdom that guides my doctors for management.  And, oddly, it’s a blessing in my life at times because the flares cause me to rest, and be thankful that my infliction truly isn’t that bad in the scheme of things.

So what defines you?  Do you believe you cannot change because it’s “just the way you are?”  Do you see yourself as the addict or victim?  Or do you see yourself as God sees you.

James 4:10 

Humble yourselves before the Lord,

and he will lift you up in honor. (NLT)

Reading Assignment for Week 4: Chapter 4 of Life’s Healing Choices

Monday: Laurie will discuss Principle 5: The Transformation Choice
Tuesday: Leslie will discuss Why Does It Take So Long?
Wednesday: Kim will discuss How Do We Cooperate With God?
Thursday: Amy will discuss Make The Choice
Friday: Laurie will bring it all back home with a recap of our week

Let’s Pray:

Lord, so many times we view our scars and afflictions as bad things in our lives.  Help us to see these as tools used by Your Hand to change and transform us into the daughters You want us to be.  You desire only the best for us.  You gave Your very best to us in Your Son, Jesus.  Show us the defects within that keep us from freedom and peace.  Allow us to humbly bow to You wisdom and correction in this process.  Amen.

 

Power Verses for Chapter 5:

Psalm 37:5

Matthew 5:6

Romans 12:1, 2

Philippians 1:6

James 4:10

1 Peter 1:13, 14

1 John 1:9

2 Thessalonians 3:3

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If you are interested in joining us for the amazing online Bible study, and would like to join our private Facebook Discussion Group, click HERE to sign up.  Once we receive your registration, we will email you further details.

If you would like to send Amy a private email in regards to this blog, please email her at: Amy@girlfriendscoffeehour.com