May 29, 2017

Strength and Shield

SeekingHimLogo

Lord, You should receive the honor, not us.
    The honor belongs to You
    because of Your faithful love and loyalty.
Why should the nations wonder
    where our God is?
Our God is in heaven,
    and He does whatever He wants.
The “gods” of those nations are only statues
    that some human made from gold and silver.
Those statues have mouths, but cannot talk.
    They have eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear.
    They have noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands, but cannot feel.
    They have feet, but cannot walk.
    No sounds come from their throats.
The people who make and trust in those statues
    will become like them!

People of Israel, trust in the Lord!
    He is your strength and shield.
10 Aaron’s family, trust in the Lord!
    He is your strength and shield.
11 Followers of the Lord, trust in the Lord!
    He is your strength and shield.

Psalms 115:1-11

What does it look  like to love God with all of your strength?  Mark gives us great advice:

To love Him with all your heart,
with all your understanding
and with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.
Mark 12:33

For me, this is easy to do. Obedience is where I would say I fail. Obedience is where I should choose to study His word and not give into distractions. Obedience says not to place my expectations on others. Obedience is forgiveness of others. Obedience is forgiving myself. When our heart becomes aligned with God’s truths then all else will fall into place.

Sometimes it is stepping out in faith when we feel that we are called to fulfill a calling on our lives. God will honor our choice to be obedient and reward us. We will be laying up our treasure in heaven by submitting to His will. I hope to see my ‘mansion’ in heaven. I do not think I would mind a small one, but then, I am not sure I would stay in that building because I would want to be in His presence all day.

In John 14 Jesus says,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going” (Verses 1-4).

What a comforting passage to us. We know the story and how Jesus died on the Cross and was raised in three days.  To the robber who was crucified alongside of Him, Jesus told the man he would be with Him in paradise. Jesus, always thinking of others, not of Himself.

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Father, thank You for Your Scriptures.  Thank You for teaching us and showing us Your heart. Help us become more like Jesus—obedient, loving, kind, and always thinking of others.  Not to be blind, but to have compassion, to have discernment, and wisdom. Wisdom in knowing how to help someone or when to refer them to someone else.  Thank You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

CHRISTLife — FORTY: Embracing A Glorious Future

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

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

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

1 John 3:1

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

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

Romans 12:2

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

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

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But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16

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

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

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

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

Philippians 1:6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He Keeps Me Singing

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

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

Luther B. Bridges, 1884-1948

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My peace I give you.
John 14:27

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

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

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