April 27, 2017

Shining

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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.)

Love Came Down

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

If my heart is overwhelmed
And I cannot hear Your voice
I hold on to what is true
Though I cannot see

If the storms of life they come
And the road ahead gets steep
I will lift these hands in faith
I will believe

I’ll remind myself
Of all that You’ve done
And the life I have
Because of Your Son

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours; Lord, I’m forever Yours
Mountains high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am Yours,  I am forever Yours

When my heart is filled with hope
Every promise comes my way
When I feel Your hands of grace
Rest upon me

I am Yours, I am Yours
All my days, Jesus, I am Yours

Staying desperate for You, God
Staying humble at Your feet
I will lift these hands in praise
I will believe

Yeah, I am Yours, I’m Yours, I am Yours
Jesus I am Yours

Kari Jobe ~ singer/songwriter

 *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Has your heart been overwhelmed?  Have there been storms in your life so dark that you couldn’t see your next step?  Who, or what, do you rely on during those times?

I know in my life it’s not if but when my heart is overwhelmed and when the storms of life come.  None of us are immune to troubles; after all, we live in a fallen world where sin abounds.  Thankfully, from the time I was born I was taught about the love of God through Jesus, and at an early age I accepted Jesus as my Savior.  (Read John 3:16-17.)  That certainly didn’t take away all the bad stuff that life brings, but it did give me Someone to look to for love and security.  And that has been my foundation when “the road ahead gets steep” or the “mountains high or valleys low.”

I’ve had some very dark days when I couldn’t see my next step. During those times “I’ll remind myself of all that You’ve done, and the life I have because of Your Son.”  The love of God rescued me as a child from sin and death, and His love continues to rescue me. Why? Because I am His!

But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much,
that even though we were dead because of our sins,
He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead.
(It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)
Ephesians 2:4-5

The following passage is a little long, but please take time to read it with a listening heart.  When you do, I believe your ‘mountain’ won’t seem too high, because of the reassurance that you are God’s and  that NOTHING can separate you from His love.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?  If God is for us, who can ever be against us?  Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?  …Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?  Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  …No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, Who loved us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

from Romans 8:31-39

Your unfailing love will last forever.
Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.
Psalm 89:2

I am so thankful to sing:

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours
I am forever Yours

 Are you singing with me? I pray it is “yes and amen” for you, too!

 *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   * 

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your great love for each of us.  You have rescued us and set us free from sin and death, and for that we give You all praise and honor.  There are times when we are overwhelmed in the storms of life, but we have the security of knowing that You are always with us.  Knowing You love us fills us with hope.  Our hearts’ cry is to stay “desperate for You,” and “humble at Your feet.”  We are so thankful to sing, “I am Yours, I’m Yours, I am Yours, Jesus, I am Yours!”  In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen.

CHRISTLife — ThirtyOne: Accepted

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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

We ARE!  This is one of my oh-so-very-favorite verses in all 66 books of the Bible!  What comfort…what encouragement…what enablement is communicated in this one sentence!  And, as His children, He has accepted us through the accomplishments of Jesus Christ!

According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Ephesians 1:4-6 KJV

Now THIS, my friends, THIS should definitely be one of the ‘images’ in your inner identity album.  “I am ACCEPTED ‘cause God says I am!”  It truly is as simple as that, y’know.  There is nothing—nada, not one tiny thing, not anything at all—that you (or I) can do to be accepted or make yourself any more accepted by God.  He has done it all…in Christ.  There aren’t too many words which communicate God’s love to us than these; they always cause tears to well up in my eyes (if not flow out of)!  Words which tell of His great love for us: chosen…without blame… adoption… His Will…to the praise of the glory of His grace…accepted in the beloved!   Amazing, yes…and TRUE!

Webster’s definition says that to ACCEPT means to ‘receive willingly, to regard with approval, to value, to esteem, to take pleasure in or to receive with favor.’ Take that and think of yourself, child of God, insert your name—“I, _______, am willingly received by God;  God regards me, _______, with approval;  God values me, esteems me, takes pleasure in me, and receives me with favor!”

C.H. Spurgeon wrote, “Are there grander words in any language than these four ‘…accepted in the beloved’?  There seems to be a sacred poem in these words.  To my heart, there is more heavenly music in those four words than in any oratorio I ever heard.”

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Psalms 139:1-6

We—every single human being who ever has been born and who ever will be born—are known by God.  Truly “such knowledge…it is high; I cannot attain it!”  But it is the truth!  And God’s desire—His love—for all is to be saved through His Son, Jesus Christ.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
John 3:16 and 17

When we are saved and brought into a relationship with Almighty God as His children, we receive access to Him.  He has completely accepted us and made us part of His family, His household.  Again, nothing we can do or could have done to accomplish this—it is all His gift of love, His doing through Jesus!

For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,
but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Ephesians 2:18 and 19

This was according to the eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him.
Ephesians 3:11 and 12

* ~ * ~ ♥  ~ * ~ *

Might I encourage you to take a little bit of time right now and seek your Father’s presence.  Put everything else aside and thank Him…praise Him…exalt Him…love Him.  Tell Him how thankful you are to be His child and to be accepted—because you are!   ♥  

“I AM” Chapter 7 – Day 5: I AM…with Christ in Eternity!

I would like to invite you to listen to this video before reading today’s blog.  Close your eyes, if you will;  allow the Holy Spirit to surround you and speak to your heart.  (You will definitely want to turn up the volume!)

 

I can only imagine what it will be like when I walk by His side…I can only imagine what my eyes will see when His Face is before me…I can only imagine!  How about you?!?  Does your heart not yearn for our Lord’s return?  Do you not have your heart set on life eternally spent in the Presence of the Great I AM?  Can you hardly wait?!?

King Solomon, a man graced by God with more wisdom than any other man, wrote the following.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

God did this!  He put a strong desire to dwell forever with the Great I AM in the human heart!  We understand this, don’t we?  I can only imagine….

In our final lesson today, Teresa shared with us that we have REASON, we have HOPE, and we have PROMISE to cling to.  (Please insert your name in the blanks.)

  • REASON:   (_______) needed a Savior—John 3:16 and 17
  • HOPE:         (_______) is awaiting the Lord’s return—Philippians 3:20
  • PROMISE: (_______) will have a new, perfect body—Philippians 3:21

Please personalize this, my friends!  When we recognize and believe that the Great I AM has made a way from the beginning for (______) to be saved and redeemed and bought back with a precious and costly price—the blood of Jesus—then, I can only imagine….

And check this out!  Here is another promise…we shall see Him; how AWESOME is this?

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
1 Corinthians 13:12

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Matthew 5:8

Hope remains for God’s children (us! you and me!) We have these beautiful promises from our Faithful God—we SHALL SEE Jesus face-to-face.  I can only imagine….

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared;
but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him,
because we shall see Him as He is.
1 John 3:2

From this glorious verse we are assured of THREE things:
we know that He will appear;
we know that we shall be like Him;
we know we shall see Him.

To KNOW and be assured of these things gives such comfort and joy to our hearts, doesn’t it? This is TRUTH to speak to ourselves every day!  To remind ourselves that I AM God’s child, I AM going to be like Him (like HIM!!!  amazing!), I AM going to see the Lord.  The truth contained in the Scriptures is our standard, upon which we can stake our very lives because God has spoken it.   I can only imagine….

Jesus’ followers have always believed that He will come again.  He promised the apostles: “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” John 14:3.

Paul related the same promise: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness…” Titus 2:11-14.

The Church today believe this, too.  We wait for His return!  When Jesus was finishing giving Revelation to John, at the very end He says,

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I AM coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Revelation 22:20

————————

Friends, this concludes our study of ‘I AM, Discovering the Character of God through the Revelation of the Scripture.’  Has this study been EVEN MORE than you had hoped?  It certainly has for us!  We pray that Teresa’s book, the accompanying blogs written over the past 7 weeks, and our group study has been a great blessing in your life.  God has certainly knit our hearts together as we have studied the truth of His Word together.  God bless you! <3

And, Teresa, we just would like to communicate our love for you and our thanks!  At the opening of your book, you invited your readers to dig in and ‘find ourselves’ in the pages of God’s Word.  Oh! My!  How amazingly that has happened!  We remain so very thankful for your obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit as He taught you…and you taught us!  We are so thankful to God for all that He has worked in your heart, Teresa.  May He continue to make Himself known as He leads you along this path He has placed you on!  We pray for you and your loved ones asking the Great I AM to continue to bless you, keep you and make His face to shine upon you…in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

_____________________

Ladies, may I pray for you?

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Lord, I thank You for each and every one of Your daughters who I have been privileged to journey with through this “I AM” study.   We have shared this journey—the growth, the challenges, the struggles, the peace, the joy—and grown closer together.  Thank You for that, Lord!  I pray for each of these dear hearts that You would continue to draw them close to Yourself.  I ask, Lord, that as You have worked in each of their hearts, they would continue to seek You and find You through the Scriptures.  Thank You, Lord, for their hearts, their lives, and their loved ones.  In Jesus our Lord’s name.

Amen.