September 25, 2017

Who Am I

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Over time You’ve healed so much in me, and I am living proof
That although my darkest hour had come
Your light could still shine through

Though at times it’s just enough to cast a shadow on the wall
I am grateful that You’ve shined Your light on me at all

Who am I, that You would love me so gently
Who am I, that You would recognize my name
Who am I, that You would speak to me so softly
Conversation with the Lord Most High…who am I

Oh, “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see”
And the more I sing that sweet old song, the more I understand
That I do not comprehend this love that’s coming from Your hand

Grace, grace; God’s grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace; God’s great grace
Grace that is greater than all my sin

Lord, Who am I, who am I
Lord Who am I, who am I

Point Of Grace
written by Nathan and Christy Nockels

 *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *

In Jeremiah 31:3 we hear God tell us of His love.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore with lovingingkindness I have drawn you.

We also are reminded of God’s love in Psalm 36.

How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!
The children of men take refuge
and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.

As well as in 1 John 4:9-10.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us,
that God sent His only Son into the world,
so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Oh, the incomparable, unconditional, amazing LOVE that God has for us!  Throughout the Scriptures we are reminded over and over of God’s love for us!

And, in spite of our actions at times, God is always faithful and keeps His promises. Whether we ever believe them or not. Think about the children of Israel…they knew of God’s promise to lead them, protect them, guide them, feed them, guard them. But they were so often disobedient to His simple commands.  As such, because of His compassionate and abiding love for them, God had to help them to learn…as He will with us, too.

You must carefully follow every command I am giving you today,
so that you may live and increase,
and may enter and take possession of the land the Lord swore to your fathers.
Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey
these 40 years in the wilderness,
so that He might humble you and test you
to know what was in your heart,
whether or not you would keep His commands.
Deuteronomy 8:1 and 2

“As we hear and believe all that God tells us—as we intentionally think these truths and begin to act accordingly—He unfolds the true personality He designed us to be.”

ChristLife, Mrs. Ruth Myers, page 60

(Oh! Don’t you just love that!)  And so we learn more of the Truth as we begin to believe what God says about us. And as we trust Him and take Him at His Word, we will begin to be freed from lies and misconceptions we have held in our hearts.

But the fact remains that we need to be diligent in reminding ourselves constantly of these Truths and promises.  One would think that, with all the many, many, many examples and proofs that God so graciously shows us about how very much He loves us, we would be convinced.  However God is equally as patient with us as He loves us. The negative images that we have allowed into our hearts can be replaced by the Truth of just “Who we ARE” in Christ.  But it takes work and effort on our part. Thankfully, we are not left to do this on our own. God can and will help us through His Holy Spirit! Remember to pray, pray, pray!

Friends, I hope that the beautiful lyrics of this song can be a tool for you to use to pray and sing your heart out to God. Your heavenly Father has MUCH to say to you…MUCH to remind you of…MUCH healing and deliverance and blessing to give to you as you seek Him!

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *

 

Shining

phssChristmasgraphic2014
The dawn of peace Christmas Eve
the final night the world would sleep 
Fearful of the dark
but there was a shining star leading
Wise men to a humble place
where they would find the Gift of Grace 
Laying before their eyes
hope had come to life

The Light of the world was shining
The Light of the world was shining 
He came just like He promised
His love would not be silent

Hearts would quake on Christmas Day
as they looked upon the Savior’s face 
God became a man
they could reach and touch His hands 
The hands that made the blind to see
that carried the weight of suffering 
That washed away our sins
so we could be born again

The world knows Christ is born
oh, the King of love has come
And our hearts will be His throne
it is known, Christ is born
Light of the world, leading us home
Shepherd of Hearts, come for His own

 Sanctus Real
Matt Hammitt, Chris Rohman, Mark Graalman, Jake Rye, Seth Huff

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

On November 3, 2015, the Taurid meteor shower and the Northern Lights were possibly going to be visible in our skies.  So at 10:00 at night (when I’m usually already in bed), Steve and I (and Muffin) drove out into the countryside in hopes of seeing them.  We immediately saw some falling stars which is always fun.  But I had never seen the Northern Lights so I was really hoping to see them, and felt somewhat disappointed as time crept by without a sighting.  Then suddenly the brightest falling star came coursing through the sky with a blazing tail…and it seemed that it came down right in front of us.  It was spectacular!  I did see a couple of moments of the Northern Lights but they were without color and brief.  All was amazing and we were praising God!

As we drove home, and even into the next day, neither of us could get our minds off of the meteor that had seemed to put on a show just for us.  Yes, it died out which was disappointing but expected.  But it caused me to think of The Light of the world, which will never die out.

His name is Jesus the Messiah, Emmanuel.

Leaving Nazareth, He (Jesus) went and lived in Capernaum,
which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali
—to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”
Matthew 4:13-16 (Isaiah 9:1-2)

Jesus spoke to them, saying,
“I am the Light of the world.
Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The true Light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
John 1:4 and 9

As the song says, “The world knows Christ is born.” People around the world celebrate Christmas because a special little baby was born. It’s a beautiful story that is retold over and over during this season. (Take time this season to read Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2).  The sad thing is that many people only see Jesus as that baby; they don’t see Him as The Light of the world.  They don’t see that He came as Emmanuel—God with us.

When the bright lights of the Christmas decorations are taken down, the world will seem dark again.  As Isaiah said, there are “…those living in the land of the shadow of death.”  For many this glimpse of Jesus will fade as well, and they will go on searching in the dark.  People everywhere are looking for peace, grace, hope, and life, just as the wise men were looking.  The good news is “a light has dawned!” During this season we have the opportunity to share Jesus, the True Light, with those around us who are looking for more than a month of celebration.

God loved the world (all of us) so much that He sent Jesus to light our way to Him (John 3:16-17).  And Jesus willingly came in obedience to His Father, knowing it was the only way to bring redemption to us, His creation.  Jesus said that He is that Light, and just as sunlight brings natural life to us, His Light brings spiritual life to us.

During this Christmas season, take the time to bask in Jesus, The True Light. He is God’s love and life extended to you.  Take advantage of this time of year when so many are celebrating, to share the Good News that there is one light that will not be turned off or fade away. His Name is Jesus.  He is not just a baby—He is the Savior of the world.  He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3

If you personally are just learning about this truth, I pray that you will realize and accept that “the King of love has come,” and He, Jesus, wants to shine into your life and make your heart His throne.

God became a man…that washed away our sins so we could be born again.

The True Light of the world is shining and will never fade away.  Let Him shine into your life, and then share His Light with all around you.

*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

Dear Jesus, thank You for coming just as You promised.  As the song says Your love would not, could not, and will not be silent.  We are overwhelmed with the realization that You, our Great God and Creator, want to shine into our lives and lead us home to be with You eternally.  We pray for those who have not yet made their heart Your Throne.  May this be the time that they accept You, not just as the Christmas baby but as their Savior.  Please help us to be faithful to share You, The True Light, when we have the opportunity.  Shine, Jesus, shine in and through our lives!  In the precious Name of Jesus, Light of the world, we pray, Amen.

(For confirmation that this was God’s promised plan,
click  here  to read 44 of the Old Testament prophecies
about the Messiah that Jesus fulfilled.)

The Love Of God

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky

O love of God, how rich and pure
How measureless and strong
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song

The Gaither Family
composed by Frederick Lehman

 *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

We have been called and chosen.  Why?  Just one reason—Almighty God loves us.  Paul says that God has set His love on those whom He loves from all eternity (Ephesians 1:4).  If you are a child of God, there has never been a time when God did not know you and did not love you.  Before you were even born He had determined to set His love on you.  He chose us not because we were love-able; but we became love-able because He chose us and desired us.

In this is love: not that we loved God,
but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.
1 John 4:10

You see, at just the right time when we were still powerless,
Christ died for the ungodly.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person,
though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

From the foundations of time, Sovereign Almighty God has desired His children. And He made a way—a very, very hard way—for sinful, not love-able people to be brought to His Holy Self.  And that was through the sacrifice and death of His Son, Jesus Christ.  And then through the centuries leading up to the perfect time when Jesus would come to the earth to show this incredible love, at sporadic times there were a few people who recognized this love that God had for mankind. David the psalmist was one.  He wrote many, many times about the reality of God’s love for himself.

And even Job, through all his worrying and complaining and the very difficult times he had, knew and was convinced of God’s love for man. Listen…

What is man that you make so much of him
and that You set Your heart on him,
and visit him every morning…?
Job 7:17 and 18

God spoke through any number of the writers of the Scriptures of His love, grace, and mercy.

Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace
which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,
2 Timothy 1:9

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3

Particularly through the life of one prophet, Hosea, God showed what the depth of His love looked like…right alongside the depravity of the idolatry of His people.  The whole book of Hosea illuminates this truth but in particular I love one verse:

I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.
Hosea 11:4

And then Jesus came! And showed clearly the depth of God’s love for mankind. He lived love to the nth degree always being the epitome of God’s love.  Listen to this Truth (I know it is so because it is in God’s Word)…truth hard to comprehend but true nonetheless!

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing,
will be able to separate us from the love of God,

which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38 and 39

Such love is so very difficult to grasp with our minds, BUT, because God tells us so through Paul’s words, we KNOW it to be true!  And through the power and influence of the Holy Spirit we are able to experience it with our hearts.

…And that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

Truly not feasible by our own doing, our own efforts, our own works. And this is the awesome Truth of God’s desiring us—it is not based on you or me but completely on Him!

 *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Lord, I ask that You help each of us to hold these Truths in our minds and our hearts.  There is nothing greater than Your love!  There is no more sure thing than Your love!  Please help us to live every day confessing and believing that,

“…neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate <me> from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus <my> Lord.”

We stand in awe of You and this awesome love of Yours!  We love You and adore You; praying in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

Hello My Name Is

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Hello, my name is regret
I’m pretty sure we have met
Every single day of your life
I’m the whisper inside
That won’t let you forget

Hello, my name is defeat
I know you recognize me
Just when you think you can win
I’ll drag you right back down again
‘Til you’ve lost all belief

Oh, these are the voices. Oh, these are the lies
And I have believed them for the very last time

Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
“Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King

I am no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new
Has proven it’s true
Just take a look at my life

What love the Father has lavished upon us
That we should be called His children
I am a child of the one true King

Matthew West

*   ~   ♥   ~    ✞    ~   ♥   ~   *

When you look in the mirror…what do you see?  When you talk to yourself…what names do you call yourself?

In the morning, when the alarm clock goes off late and the lunches aren’t made and that pair of shorts that she just had to wear…well, they aren’t quite dry….  Your name becomes ‘failure’.  You say things like, “I ALWAYS mess up everything.”  “I will NEVER succeed at this mom thing.”  But God says: “You are My child and I love You”

The LORD appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.
Jeremiah 31:3

Perhaps you have been struggling with a habit, and you have been so good; and then you have a hard week and you mess up.  You call yourself…”mistake.”  But God calls you “beloved.”  He loves you so much that He sent His own Son to die in your place!

For God loved the world in this way:
He gave His One and Only Son,
so that everyone who believes in Him
will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Perhaps your marriage isn’t what you thought it would be…and everywhere you look, you see everyone else succeeding at their marriage.  Maybe you have been previously married.  You label yourself a “mess-up.”  But God sees you as His beautiful child that just needs to lean on Him a little bit more.  He wants you to know that nothing is impossible when He is involved!

For nothing is impossible with God.
Luke 1:37

Next time that you are tempted to call yourself names, make sure to use the ones that your Father gave you!  And if you don’t know any, please read His love letters to you in His Word.

Because you are…

  • loved
  • wanted
  • redeemed
  • forgiven
  • free
  • embraced
  • beloved
  • white as snow…and so much more!

And most of all, you are HIS!

*   ~   ♥   ~    ✞    ~   ♥   ~   *

Let us pray: Dear God, Your voice is the only one that matters.  Thank You for loving us so much and for sending Jesus to die in our place. Lord, some days we believe those lies that the enemy whispers in our ear and we get so discouraged.  Please forgive us for allowing these words to define us for You have already named us and claimed us as Yours.  I pray today that Your voice is the only one that we hear and that the names we call ourselves from now on only come from You!  Oh Lord, You are our Fortress and our Provider.  You are the only constant in our lives and we trust in You!  We love You and praise You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

I Never Lost My Praise

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I lost some good friends along life’s way
Some loved ones departed in heaven to stay but
Thank God I didn’t lose everything
I’ve lost faith in people who said they care
The time of my crisis they were never there
But in my disappointment, in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed

I never lost my hope, I never lost my joy
I never lost my faith but, most of all, I never lost my praise

I’ve let some blessings slip away, and I lost my focus
And went astray, but thank God I didn’t lose everything
I’ve lost possessions that were so dear
And I’ve lost some battles by walking in fear
But in the midst of my struggle, in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed

I never lost my hope, I never lost my joy
I never lost my faith but, most of all, I never lost my praise
Praise, praise, praise, praise…most of all, I never lost my praise

My praise, still here, my praise still here
Hallelujah! My praise is still here

Charlotte Central Church of God Choir
Songwriter – Kurt Carr

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Oh, can you picture Job singing this song?  He lost loved ones and lost possessions.  He  lost faith in people who said they care and in his time of crisis they were never there.   But one thing never wavered…one thing never changed—he never lost his hope…he never lost his faith…he never lost his praise.

There aren’t too many records throughout the Scriptures which depict someone more deeply grieved and in mourning than the story of Job.  Here is how God described Job:

…a blameless and upright man, fears God and turns away from evil.
Job 1:8

Right off in chapter one, we read of the horrific loss that Job experienced. He was a man blessed by his God with “seven sons and three daughters; 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very great body of servants.” The Scriptures tell us that “this man was the greatest of all the men of the East.” But, as we know, Satan purposed to take all that Job had in order to tempt him  to turn away from and curse his God (verse 11).  In one day, within a very short period of time, Job learned that all his flocks, practically every one of his servants, and each of his children has been taken from him.  However, Satan’s purpose was foiled because, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God” (verse 22).  Job kept his heart of worship and praise; his response to all this?

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.
Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Job 1:20-22

He never lost his praise.

As the woman who sings this song shared with us, in her time of sadness and loss, God taught her about the ‘sacrifice of praise.’   (Go back, if you would, and listen to her heart starting at :18 to 1:19.)

She never lost her praise.

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God
a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips
that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.
Hebrews 13:15

Probably each of us has offered a ‘sacrifice of praise’ at least once or twice in our lives…yes?  However, I am confronted by the higher standard that Hebrews 13:15 states: “let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise….”  Other versions of this verse use the terms, ‘continually’ and ‘always.’  That doesn’t leave much room for wiggling out of obedience, now does it?

We are to constantly {always, continually, at all times} give to God our praise as a sacrifice—whether our circumstances are happy and joy-filled or not.  Even in those times where it looks like there is nothing left, we are to acknowledge all He has done, is doing, and will do to take care of us.

And when we struggle to maintain our joy and peace we can still praise God for Who He is…

  • He never changes (Malachi 3:6)
  • He never leaves us nor forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:8)
  • He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3
  • He is faithful to all of His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9)

We should always praise Him for those things…and much, much, much more!  I believe that then we, too, will sing…

I never lost my praise.

Remain In Him

encouragementbloggraphicromans15

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

So Jesus and His disciples took many walks before they stopped at the final place—the Garden of Gethsemane. They fed the hungry, healed the sick and gave hope to the hopeless. As Jesus led them, He used every opportunity to teach them all that He could before He left this earth for Heaven.  One day, as they were walking, they passed a vineyard…the vines were full of fruit.   Jesus told them that He is the True Vine.  And that if they would remain in Him, as branches connected to a vine, they would bear beautiful fruit. Beautiful for others to see. He said:

“If you remain in Me and My words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.
This is to my Father’s glory,
so that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be My disciples.”
John 15:7-8

God wants so much for us as His children and the best way to have the abundant life that He ordained is to remain in Jesus.  The closer we get to Him, the more He pours into us.  And then we begin to bear His fruit!   Before you know it, you are equipped to lead others to the Kingdom.  What kind of world would we live in if all those who are lost saw in us the hope that they have been searching for and we gave them the answer—it is Jesus!

The stronger you become in Jesus, the more the enemy seems to comes at you.  He will tell you over and over how insignificant your life really is…and that Jesus isn’t enough to brighten your life…and that joy is temporary.  (Remember after all, he is the father of lies. Jesus, however, is the Truth.)  And God would haveve never sacrificed His own Son for us if He didn’t think we were really worth it.

He loves us so much…as much as He loves His own Son, Jesus.  As Matthew 3:17 says, “This is My Son, Whom I love…with Whom I am well pleased.” Jesus has this same love for us, too.  And He never gets tired of us.  He only wants to give us all that He has and all the love that He can give.  We need only remain in Him. He is the True Vine and we are the branches. Without the vine, and the nourishment that spreads through to the branches, there is no fruit. As Christians, without fruit, we cannot be a witness to others.

Maybe you just need to be still today and let Him love on you. Maybe you don’t feel lovable today and life has really been hard lately and you just need to be reminded that He really is for you and He is always working on your behalf.  Please don’t forget that He died for you—even if you were the only one on earth that needed saving, He still would have gone to the Cross.

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

I have loved you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

*   ~   ♥   ~      ~  ♥   ~   * 

I ask you today: do you know Jesus?  Do you know God?  He is waiting for you, my friend, with open arms.  All you have to do is ask Him into your heart and to be your Lord.  Will you pray with me?

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and I need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus is Your Son and He came into the world as a baby, and walked the earth as a man then died on the Cross with my sins on Him.  Jesus is the Savior and I need Him.  Please come into my heart and be Lord of my life.  I want to know You more.  Walk with me.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

I Never Lost My Praise

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I lost some good friends along life’s way
Some loved ones departed in heaven to stay but
Thank God I didn’t lose everything
I’ve lost faith in people who said they care,
The time of my crisis they were never there
But in my disappointment in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed

I never lost my hope, I never lost my joy,
I never lost my faith but, most of all, I never lost my praise

I’ve let some blessings slip away, and I lost my focus
And went astray, but thank God I didn’t lose everything
I’ve lost possessions that were so dear
And I lost some battles by walking in fear
But in the midst of my struggle, in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed

I never lost my hope, I never lost my joy,
I never lost my faith but, most of all, I never lost my praise
Praise, praise, praise, praise…most of all, I never lost my praise

My praise, still here, my praise still here

Hallelujah! My praise is still here

Songwriter – Kurt Carr/ Performed by the Charlotte Central Church of God Choir

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Oh, can you picture Job singing this song?  He lost loved ones and possessions.  He  lost faith in people who said they care and in his time of crisis they were never there.   But one thing never wavered…one thing never changed—he never lost his hope…he never lost his faith…he never lost his praise.

There aren’t too many records throughout the Scriptures which depict someone more deeply grieved and in mourning than the story of Job “…a blameless and upright man, fears God and turns away from evil.”  Right off in chapter one, we read of the horrific loss that Job experienced.   Job was a man blessed by his God with “seven sons and three daughters; 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very great body of servants.” The Scriptures tell us that “this man was the greatest of all the men of the East.” But, as we know, Satan purposed to take all that Job had in order to tempt him (verse 11) to turn away from and curse his God.  In one day, within a very short period of time, Job learns that all his flocks, practically every one of his servants, and each of his children has been taken from him.  However, Satan’s purpose was foiled because, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God” (verse 22).  Job kept his heart of worship and praise; his response to all this?

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.
Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Job 1:20-22

He never lost his praise.

As the woman who sings this song shared with us, in her time of sadness and loss, God taught her about the ‘sacrifice of praise.’   (Listen to her heart starting at :18 to 1:19.)

She never lost her praise.

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God
a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips
that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.
Hebrews 13:15

Probably each of us has offered a ‘sacrifice of praise’ at least once or twice in our lives…yes?  However, I am confronted by the higher standard that Hebrews 13:15 states: “let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise….”  Other versions of this verse use the terms, ‘continually…always.’  That doesn’t leave much room for wiggling out of obedience, now does it?

We are to constantly {always, continually, at all times} give to God our praise as a sacrifice—whether our circumstances are happy and joy-filled or not.  Even in those times where it looks like there is nothing left, we are to acknowledge all He has done, is doing, and will do to take care of us.  And when we struggle to maintain our joy and peace we can still praise God for Who He is…He never changes (Malachi 3:6).  He never leaves us nor forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:8).  He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)…which nothing can separate us from (Romans 8:38-39).  We should always praise Him for those things…and much, much, much more!  I believe that then we, too, will sing…

I never lost my praise.

CHRISTLife — ThirtyFour: Loved

cl loved

In this is love, not that we loved God,
but that He loved us and sent His Son
to be the propitiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10

The KJV substitutes “Herein is love” for the phrase “In this is love” at the beginning of this verse.  Isn’t that a tremendous interpretation?—‘Herein, or, in here’ is love…truly nowhere else!  In God is love…He is love!

In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself,
according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace….
Ephesians 1:5 and 6

“God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures.  It is true whether we believe it or not.  Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it.  It originates in the very nature of God, who IS Love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.” ~ Jerry Bridges

The love of God for you (me, too!) is a fact…an absolute…a given—the Truth.  I can doubt it, if I choose.  I can worry about losing it, if I want.  I can wonder how God could possibly love me, if I want.

OR, I can believe it.

This God, the Great I AM, my ABBA Father, communicates all throughout the Scriptures of His love—

  • steadfast (Psalm 103:11)
  • unfailing (Psalm 147:11)
  • inseparable (Romans 8:38 and 39)
  • faithful (Exodus 34:6)
  • everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • unconditional (Luke 15)
  • compassionate (Psalm 86:15)
  • merciful (Titus 3:4 and 5)
  • enduring (Psalm 106:1)
  • and more; so much more!

Confess these Truths to yourself, my friend…encourage and strengthen yourself in the Truth of God’s love for you!  Would you, please, do this…Look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself of the Truth, “God loves me!  He chose me, actually picked me out for Himself to have a relationship with Him.”  (Did you say it out loud?) Read through that list of truths that tell of the love of God…and speak them over yourself.  You are loved by God!

Perhaps you can sing along with the Psalmist David,

…in the morning I will sing of Your love;
for You are my Fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
O my strength, I sing praise to You;
You, O God, are my Fortress, my loving God.
Psalms 59:16 and 17

Perhaps you can sing this beautiful song, too; will you…would you try?   ‘Cause He loves us..oh, how He loves us!!!

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And NOW here is some encouragement from Kim
along with her beautiful inner identity album page for this week!

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God’s redeeming love is such a powerful life-changing love…unlike ANYTHING I have ever experienced in my life!  He loved me out of my darkness and redeemed my life.  As Isaiah 54:8 states, “With everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.”  Thank You, Father, for loving me that much….

CHRISTLife — Seventeen: Desired

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We have been called and chosen.  Why?  Just one reason—Almighty God desired to love us.  Paul says that God has set His love on those whom He loves from all eternity (Ephesians 1:4).  If you are a child of God, there has never been a time when God did not know you and did not love you.  Before you were even born He had determined to set His love on you.  He chose us not because we were love-able; but we become love-able because He chose us and desired us.

In this is love: not that we loved God,
but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.
1 John 4:10

You see, at just the right time when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person,
though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

From the foundations of time, Sovereign Almighty God has desired His children. And He made a way—a very, very hard way—for sinful, not love-able people to be brought to His Holy Self.  And that was through the sacrifice and death of His Son, Jesus Christ.  And then through the centuries leading up to the perfect time when Jesus would come to the earth to show this incredible love, at sporadic times there were a few people who recognized this love that God had for mankind. David the psalmist was one.  He wrote many, many times about the reality of God’s love for himself.

And even Job, through all his worryings and complainings and the very difficult times he had, I believe he knew and was convinced of God’s love for man. Listen…

What is man that you make so much of him and that You set Your heart on him,
and visit him every morning…?
Job 7:17 and 18

God spoke through any number of the prophets declaring to the people He was drawing to Himself of His love, grace, and mercy and His desire for mankind.

Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace
which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,
2 Timothy 1:9

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3

Particularly, through the life of one prophet, Hosea, God showed what the depth of His love looked like…right alongside the depravity of the idolatry and whoredom of His people.  The whole book of Hosea illuminates this truth but in particular I love one verse:

I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.
Hosea 11:4

And then Jesus came! And showed clearly the depth of God’s love for mankind. He lived love to the nth degree always being the epitome of God’s love.

Now here is Truth (I know it is so because it is in God’s Word)…truth hard to comprehend but true nonetheless!

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,
nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

Such love is beyond our ability to grasp with our minds, but it is not beyond our ability to experience with our hearts. Only through the power and influence of the Holy Spirit are we able to do so!

…And that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

Truly not feasible by our own doing, our own efforts, our own works. BUT, because God tells us so through Paul’s encouragement to the church at Ephesus, we KNOW it to be true! And this is the awesome Truth of God’s desiring us—it is not based on you or me but completely on Him!

May I share something with you?  At the very beginning of today’s chapter, Mrs. Myers asks her readers to “Allow the Lord to fully convince your heart that He desires you.”  I had an extremely difficult time taking that step.  You see, on any given day, I have not been convinced that Almighty God desired me.  Let alone ask Him to ‘fully convince my heart’ of that fact.  But…today I did ask.  And He is doing so!!!  Oh, I have a <prior> lifetime of being fully convinced that perhaps God might desire everyone else but not me.  But that is not too much for our Father to deal with!  For little me, Coleen Ann Brigit McElroy Hayden, “I am <becoming> convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate <me> from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus <my> Lord.”  How about you?

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

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

CHRISTLife — Chapter 15: Knowing My Need

CLfridaygraphicBefore Christ, I was “spiritually dead, defiled, disobedient, and deceived.” I was “empty, enslaved, and self-willed.” Then at the age of six, I knelt at an altar of prayer, and those things were washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. Yes, it’s true, I was all those ugly things. Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Romans 3:10, “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one;” No matter at what age you got saved, I know you are saying with me, “Praise God, He saved me from all of that and so much more!”

However, I am still needy. How about you? In our flesh we are still prone toward “doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21, ESV). As humans we still have our limitations, and we still sin. So we must continually “acknowledge our deep need for God and cast away our self-centered pride.” God can only work in us when we admit that we are His child, and as a child we are dependent on Him to care for us and help us in our weaknesses. Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” Even though we have many wonderful qualities, we can’t take personal credit and think too highly of ourselves. Instead, we must see that it is not by our works but by His mercy that we do anything good.

He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:5 NLT

If we never had any needs—emotionally, physically, psychologically, or spiritually—we would never realize just how needy we are for God. He created us for Himself. Genesis 1:26, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness….’”

Adam and Eve spent time in God’s presence. But as I think about them, I’m not sure they truly understood their need for Him until they had sinned and realized they weren’t “presentable” anymore.

When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He (Adam) replied, “I heard You walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
Genesis 3:8-10 NLT

After God told Adam and Eve how their sin would affect their lives from then on, He forgave them and, through the sacrifice of animals (Genesis 3:21), He provided for their need. Life wasn’t easy (verses 22-24), but the good news is that it kept them humble and in relationship with Him.

For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise His own people.
Psalm 69:33 ESV

He stands beside the needy, ready to save them.
Psalm 109:31 NLT

The more we study God’s Word and spend time with Him, the more we will recognize our shortcomings and our great need for Him to reign in our lives. We will find our help is in the Lord, as God tells us in Isaiah 41:17-20, “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then I, the Lord, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them.”

As pride is gotten under control, God doesn’t want us to think too lowly of ourselves either. David said (Psalm 40:17 NLT) that even though he was needy—God was thinking about him! Please meditate on this Scripture because it shows us just how significant we actually are to our Father God. He is thinking about you and me!

Yes, we are needy. I know I personally need more love, more patience, more self-control, more—you name it. As I grow in God’s Word, I will see how He is providing for me, protecting me, guiding and guarding me. I will see more clearly how much He loves me. How about you? Have you taken time to see your needs? Have you looked into God’s Word to see how much He wants to help you? Do you know today that God loves you, my friend, and He wants only His best for you? That’s His message to you right now. Our Lord is saying to you, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).

May these Scriptures be your heart cry today:

The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord.
The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 29:19 NLT

Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to Your truth!
Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor You.
With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to Your name forever, for Your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.
Psalms 86:11-13 NLT

Whom have I in Heaven but You? I desire You more than anything on earth.
Psalm 73:25 NLT

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Dear Lord and Savior of our souls, thank You for loving us beyond our comprehension. Thank You for loving us enough to save us. Thank You for continuing to show us Your love by revealing to us our areas of weakness so we will repent, be forgiven, and become more like You. We acknowledge our need for You. May we always hunger and thirst for You, Lord, for You promise to answer us and never abandon us. We love You, Lord. In Jesus’ Precious and Holy Name, Amen.