December 17, 2017

Step By Step

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv
Sometimes the night was beautiful
Sometimes the sky was so far away
Sometimes it seemed to stoop so close
You could touch it but your heart would break
Sometimes the morning came too soon
Sometimes the day could be so hot
There was so much work left to do
But so much You’d already done

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
And I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step You’ll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

Sometimes I think of Abraham
How one star he saw had been lit for me
He was a stranger in this land
And I am that, no less than he
And on this road to righteousness
Sometimes the climb can be so steep
I may falter in my steps
But never beyond Your reach

Rich Mullins
written along with David Strasser

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

This was one of the very first ‘contemporary’ Christian songs I ever heard.  I fell in love immediately.  Little did I know how much this song would affect me or that I would continue to carry it with me “all of my days.”

Rich Mullins considered this a prayer song because, as he said,  “Sometimes I find it hard to pray.”  (Don’t we all?)  Rich also talked about trying to impress God with our prayers: “We don’t have to impress Him…He is already knocked out about you…God takes the junk of our lives and makes the greatest art out of it.”

This is the cry of my heart, that “I will seek You in the morning and I will learn to walk in Your ways; and step by step You’ll lead me…and I will follow You all of my days!”  I desperately want Him to take the junk of my life and make something beautiful out of it.

My deepest desire is to seek Him each morning and follow Him…truly step by step.  I pray God will “Guide my steps by Your Word, so I will not be overcome by evil” (Psalm 119:133 NLT).  But, being human, I falter and sometimes I fail.  What a relief to know that I am never beyond His reach.  Psalm 139:7 (HCSB) asks the question, “Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?”  Acts 17:27b (HCSB) provides an answer, “He is not far from each one of us.”  Deuteronomy 4:7 (NASB) ties it all up for us, “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him?”

I think this quote from Jerry Bridges gives a great perspective:

Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.

We cannot escape God’s amazing grace.  It is always there for us. We will always have need of it—at our best and at our worst.  That’s why I am so thankful that “Oh God, You are my God….”  Yes, “I will ever praise You!

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Lord, I am so thankful for Your leadership.  I am grateful You direct my steps.  Teach me to walk closely with You.  Keep my feet on the path You have placed them on that I may follow You all of my days.  In Christ’s name, I ask this, Amen!  It Is SO!

Step By Step (Sometimes By Step)

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv
Sometimes the night was beautiful
Sometimes the sky was so far away
Sometimes it seemed to stoop so close
You could touch it but your heart would break
Sometimes the morning came too soon
Sometimes the day could be so hot
There was so much work left to do
But so much You’d already done

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
And I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step You’ll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

Sometimes I think of Abraham
How one star he saw had been lit for me
He was a stranger in this land
And I am that, no less than he
And on this road to righteousness
Sometimes the climb can be so steep
I may falter in my steps
But never beyond Your reach

Singer/ Songwriter: Rich Mullins along with David Strasser

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

This was one of the very first ‘contemporary’ Christian songs I ever heard. I fell in love immediately. Little did I know how much this song would affect me or that I would continue to carry it with me “all of my days.”

Rich Mullins considered this a prayer song because “Sometimes I find it hard to pray.” (Don’t we all?)  Rich also talks about trying to impress God with our prayers: “We don’t have to impress Him…He is already knocked out about you…God takes the junk of our lives and makes the greatest art out of it.”

This is the cry of my heart, that “I will seek You in the morning and I will learn to walk in Your ways; and step by step You’ll lead me…and I will follow You all of my days!” I desperately want Him to take the junk of my life and make something beautiful out of it.

My deepest desire is to seek Him each morning and follow Him…step by step. I pray God will “Guide my steps by Your Word, so I will not be overcome by evil” (Psalm 119:133 NLT). But, being human, I falter and sometimes I fail. What a relief to know that I am never beyond His reach. Psalm 139:7 (HCSB) asks the question, “Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?” Acts 17:27b (HCSB) provides an answer, “He is not far from each one of us.” Deuteronomy 4:7 (NASB) ties it all up for us, “For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him?”

I think this quote from Jerry Bridges puts it all into perspective:

“Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.”

We cannot escape God’s amazing grace. It is always there for us. We will always have need of it—at our best and at our worst. That’s why I am so thankful that “Oh God, You are my God…” Yes, “I will ever praise You!”

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Lord, I am so thankful for Your leadership. I am grateful You direct my steps. Teach me to walk closely with You. Keep my feet on the path You have placed them on that I may follow You all of my days. In Christ’s name, I ask this, Amen! It Is SO!

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!

CLkimiia0227

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….

Captivating: Chapter 10 – “To Mother” – “My Sister, My Friend” (pgs 176-181)

So, if you don’t already know, I’m single.  I’ve never been married, and I don’t have any children.  Furthermore, if you know me at all, you know that little kids fascinate me.  I’m one of those creepy people who will stare at your kids just because they always put a smile on my face.  Nothing brings me more joy than when I wave to a little baby and get a great big smile in return.  Children are life in its most simple, pure, and innocent form.

Deep down, beyond all the outward fascination, I struggle with jealousy.  Oftentimes, I watch a mother take her toddler’s hand to “go find a book to read before bed tonight,” and I get jealous.  I want that.  I want to take a little mini-me and read bedtime stories to her.  I want to watch my son play baseball or score his first goal playing soccer.  I want to get lost in an imaginary world, dress up like a superhero and fly around my living room with my little ones. I want to listen as they try to pronounce words like “popsicle” and “spaghetti.” I want to snuggle with my baby as she falls asleep in my arms.  I want to mother.

When I find the jealousy creeping in, I have to turn it over to God.  He’s faithful, He knows these desires of mine, and I know He will give them to me in His time.  And when it is my turn to mother, I want to encourage my children to live a life from their heart, as our authors state.  I want to encourage them to be the person God has created them to be—nothing more, nothing less.

But, even if you don’t have children of your own, you do have opportunities to mother not only other people’s children, but other people in general.  All you have to do is care about someone, offer a listening ear to that person, and encourage him or her to simply be who God created them to be.  Let the following passage from Philippians resonate in your hearts:

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Phillipians 2:1-4 ESV

Count others more significant than yourself? Really? I mean, who does that?

Mothers. Mothers do that.  Or, at least they should do that.  If you haven’t had a mother who sacrificed and loved you the way she should have, I’m sorry.  But there is Someone who has filled her role. There is Someone who counts you more than He counts Himself.  There’s Someone who died to save you from your sin so that you can live forever with Him in Heaven.  That Person is Jesus, and He loves you unconditionally.  I love this quote by Jerry Bridges, a notable Christian author.  It reminds me of a mother’s love for her children:

“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, Christian author

Right in suit with caring more about others than yourself falls our friendships with other women.  Do you have those? How are they? Can you think of a girlfriend who you know would be there for you if you needed someone to talk to, cry to, receive godly advice from, or just goof around with? If you don’t have a friend like that, I encourage you to seek one.  My mother told me that when I was a toddler, she didn’t have many girlfriends.  When I entered preschool, she had been praying for a good friend to come into her life.  God was faithful! Through a fun course of events, He placed another family into my family’s life, and our friendship continues to this day.  Not only did we gain a friendship, but this family led my family closer to God.  Our faith was strengthened through that friendship.

Do you have a friend who causes your relationship with God to deepen?  Does she encourage you to grow and walk closer with Him daily?  If not, I pray you seek, invest, and spend time with godly women in your church, Bible study, or even with this group online!  Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that “iron sharpens iron.”  Do you have an “iron” friend in your life? Friendship with like-minded women is crucial to your spiritual growth, and I’ve seen it create accountability and a safe place in my own life.  If you already have your “iron” friend or two, then don’t forget to nurture those friendships with love and attention.

Praise Him!

Carissa

 

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Let’s Pray:

Heavenly Father, thank You for our innate desires to mother, care for, and encourage those in our lives.  I pray that we will apply these desires in the lives of our children, future families, marriage, friendships, and even acquaintances.  I pray that Your love that dwells in each of us will overflow to those around us.  Father, thank You for the gift of girlfriends and friendships.  Lord, I pray that our friendships will grow as we all seek to know You and serve You better each and every day.  In your Holy Name we pray, Amen.

Your Assignment:

Do you like kids as much as I do? I can’t be the only creeper out there! What does your heart desire with regard to children and a family?  Do you feel the desire to “mother” as our authors discuss?   In the past, what has held you back from forming friendships with other women? How do you plan on changing that for the future?

 

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GWS

Our next Women’s Online Bible/Book study begins March 24th.  

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We hope you will join us.