April 28, 2017

With Every Act Of Love

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Sitting at the stoplight
He can’t be bothered by the heart cry
Written on the cardboard in her hand
But when she looks him in the eye
His heart is broken open wide
And he feels the hand of God reach out through him
As Heaven touches earth

Oh – we bring the Kingdom come
Oh – with every act of love
Jesus help us carry You
Alive in us, Your light shines through
With every act of love
We bring the Kingdom come

There’s silence at the table
He wants to talk but he’s not able
For all the shame that’s locked him deep inside
But her words are the medicine
When she says they can begin again
And forgiveness will set him free tonight
As Heaven touches earth

God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you
I said, God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is you

 Jason Gray

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Christmas is all so much about giving.  Even the stingiest folks that we know…you know, the ones with the ‘bah! humbug!’ attitude…understand the giving of the season.  Little children understand about giving; big kids, too.  So much of our conversation at this time of the year centers around the subject of giving.

Now…back to my first sentence.  What I first wrote is true. ‘Christmas IS all about giving.’  THAT is the absolute, total, complete, whole TRUTH!

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

But, wait…let’s look at those words again.  God ‘so loved the world…’ His love was the motivation.  And what He gave (His only begotten Son, Jesus), well that’s love, too.  Almighty God has set the standard for giving—LOVE.  Giving should be all about love.

  • Just like God, love should be the motivation for our giving
  • Just like God, love should be what we give

And we, as His children, have been enabled and equipped to be ABLE to love.

…for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts
through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.
Romans 5:5

So, in the midst of the sewing, and the wrapping, and the baking, and the shopping, and all the other activities, here’s a challenge I would like to set before each of us: let’s purpose to give LOVE!  I can only begin to imagine the myriad of opportunities that we will have to give love if we look to do so!  Start small, perhaps…give love by smiling at those you meet.  Whether wandering through the aisles or in line at the grocery store…look into the eyes of those you pass and smile.  (Oh!  And pray for them!)   Or go a little bigger…there are so very many needs in this world!  Go to a battered women’s shelter and sit and talk.  Visit an assisted living community and sing Christmas carols.  If we ask God to lead us and give us opportunity to show His love…I KNOW He will!

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This is how God showed His love among us:
He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us
and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Dear friends, since God so loved us,
we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:7-11

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Oh dear Father, You have shown such a perfect standard for giving.  And we thank You for that!  And You have enabled us to show Your love by pouring Your love into our hearts.  Help us, Father, especially during this Christmas season, to reach out with that love.  Help us to go beyond our comfort level, and be love to those who need love.  May You be pleased by our obedience and our actions.  And may the love we show draw others to You.  Thank You for Your love, gracious Father!  We love You so!  In Jesus’ precious name, we pray.  Amen.

Thankful Representatives

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And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.
Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives.
Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
And whatever you do or say,
do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:15-17 NLT

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According to Google.com, a representative is “a person chosen or appointed to act or speak for another or others.”  And at Dictionary.com it is also defined as “a typical example or specimen of a group, quality, or kind.”

This passage of Scripture gives us a lot to consider.  As one chosen by God, we, as Christians, are to represent Christ Jesus to those around us.  We are to be a “typical example of His quality.”  And how do we do that?  “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives” (verse 16).

What is “the message about Christ?”  It is the message that God loves us so much that “He gave His Son, His one and only Son.  And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life” (John 3:16 MSG).  Does that good news fill your heart with thankfulness and joy to the point of singing?  It does mine!

“If thankfulness becomes a way of life, it will make it much easier to maintain a state of peace.  It helps us look on the bright side instead of focusing upon the events which can disturb our calm [our inner peace.]”

quote taken from The Complete Biblical Library,
The New Testament Study Bible Galatians through Philemon

God’s quality and quantity of love is beyond measure.  God is not asking us to “be Him” [which we know is impossible], but He is asking us to live and love “like Him.” When we choose to be the representative He wants us to be and in the place He wants us to be, we will have His peace.

In Philippians 4:1-9, Paul told Euodia and Syntyche to settle their disagreements, and he told the church to help them.  Paul wanted them to experience the joy and peace that God desires for His people, and to be the representatives God wanted them to be. When we live in peace, joy, thankfulness, and God’s wisdom, we will be representatives that show the world around us our God of love. With thankful hearts, we can sing, speak, and do that which draws others to Christ, and that also strengthens our sisters (and brothers) in Christ.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

A life that is full of Christ’s peace and His Word
is a life that is thankful, and rich and wise.
It will enrich everyone around you. Thank You, Lord.

(Many years ago I wrote this note in the margin of my Bible; I still believe it today.)

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Dear Lord Jesus, we come to You with thankful hearts.  Your Word—Your Good News—fills our lives with wisdom, peace, and joy.  Those are qualities people around us are looking for in their lives.  Lord, please help us to be Your representatives so that others will be drawn to You.  May our thanksgiving during this season of the year (and everyday) make people curious enough to ask why so we can share You with them.  In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

Captivate Us

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Your face is beautiful
And Your eyes are like the stars
Your gentle hands have healing
There inside the scars
Your loving arms they draw me near
And Your smile it brings me peace
Draw me closer oh, my Lord
Draw me closer, Lord, to Thee

And captivate us, Lord Jesus, set our eyes on You
Devastate us with Your presence falling down
And rushing River draw us nearer
Holy Fountain, consume us with You
Captivate us, Lord Jesus, with You

Your voice is powerful
And Your words are radiant bright
In Your breath and shadow
I will come close and abide
You whisper love and life divine
And Your fellowship is free
Draw us closer, oh my Lord
Draw me closer, Lord, to Thee

And let ev’rything be lost in the shadows
Of the light of Your face
And let ev’ry chain be broken from me
As I’m bound in Your grace
For Your yoke is easy, Your burden is light
You’re full of wisdom pow’r and might
And ev’ry eye will see You

Captivate us,  Lord Jesus, with You
Captivate us

Watermark
Writer(s): Charlie Hall, Christy Nockels, Nathan Nockels

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You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride;
You have captivated my heart with one glance of Your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace.
Song of Solomon 4:9

Can you think of anything more awesome than to be captivated by Jesus? I looked up the definition of the word captivate and this is what it said:

to attract and hold the attention of, as by beauty or excellence; enchant

Now imagine that your whole life is centered around Jesus and you are captivated by Him.  The Son of God really is completely in love with you.  So, as you listen to this beautiful song today, I hope that you will close your eyes and just sing this as a prayer to Him.  He is so worthy of such a praise song from you…

Tell Him that His face is beautiful; just picture His eyes focused on you, just you.

Then look at His hands. See the scars? And those nails that were driven into His hands and they drove out the sins of us, His daughters and sons. And in those scars, there is so much healing. Remember the woman that just touched His garment? Oh the power that He holds. Lay all your afflictions down at His feet and allow Him to begin to heal you.

Now let His arms fold you in. Feel His embrace and allow Him to hold you long…it’s okay , y’know. He wants to love on His children and that includes you.

And while you’re in His presence, look up at Him.  See the smile on His face.  See how He looks at you with adoration and joy.  It is time to  let all the cares of this world just crumble and vanish in His presence.

{Oh Jesus, please draw us closer to You. Let all the other things of this world pale in comparison and keep us from putting anything before You, oh Lord.  Let all our chains be broken in Your name.  Break all addictions, oh Lord.  All worry and all spirit of fear replace with peace that only You can give. You are stronger than any burden that we carry, Jesus….}

Friend, if you prayed this song today, I am so glad! Jesus wants to captivate us, and be so big in our lives that He is the first and last thing we think about. That during the day—when burdens stack up—that we are quick to give them to His capable hands.  He is waiting and watching and hoping to get some time with you today…I pray He consumes you, friend!

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Dear Jesus, we echo the prayer above today.  Oh Jesus, we come to You today wanting to be captivated by You.  We want to put all earthly things aside and just dwell in You.  I pray that the things of this world will become so small in the presence of our big Savior.  Thank You for Your arms that hold us and for Your smile that warms us and for Your nail-scarred hands that stretch out to pull us close.  Keep us focused on You.  In Your name we pray, amen.

Evidence

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It’s not a flag on a field

It’s not a sign in my yard
Not a cause that I join
Not a phrase on a coin
It’s the change in my heart

Mercy and grace and compassion
They’re only words without action

I need hands that are open
Reaching out to broken hearts
Cuz’ that’s the only way this world
Will ever know who You are
Love is the evidence
Love is the evidence

Might be the pain that you share
Might be the time that you spend
Or the war you don’t fight
Backing down from your pride
After all in the end

My life wasn’t changed by an argument
That never would have been enough
My life was changed by the evidence of love

Your hands that were open
Reaching out to my broken heart

  Citizens Way

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For I was hungry, and you fed Me.
I was thirsty, and you gave Me a drink.
I was a stranger, and you invited Me into your home.
I was naked, and you gave Me clothing.
I was sick, and you cared for Me.
I was in prison, and you visited Me.’
Then these righteous ones will reply,

‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?
Or thirsty and give you something to drink?
Or a stranger and show you hospitality?
Or naked and give you clothing?
When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth,
when you did it to one of the least of these
my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Matthew 25:35-40 NLT

One day we will stand before Jesus and He will speak to us, His sheep.  There will be one line on the right and one line on the left.  To some He will say; “Oh you, righteous and obedient sheep, I was in prison and you visited Me. I was hungry and you fed Me. I was thirsty and you gave Me water. I was homeless and you took Me in. I was needy and you met My needs.

To the others He will say: “I was in prison and you didn’t come visit Me.  I was hungry and you didn’t give Me food.  I was thirsty and you gave Me no water.  I was cold and you gave Me no clothes. I had no home and you did not invite Me in.”  They will say; “Lord, when were You thirsty and hungry? When were You in prison? When were You homeless? When did I not clothe You?”

He will answer: “If you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto Me.”

Jesus calls us to love each other.  More and more we are to love all of God’s people.  Love changes lives.  You may not be able to change the world for everyone but you can change the world for one person just by investing in them and loving them and being Jesus to them. How can we do this?  We cannot do anything on our own, my friends…we have to cry out to Jesus to change our hearts and to make them like His.

If only we could all do this—be intentional with our time here on earth and seek those who are in need and ask Him what we can do. Anyone come to mind?  If not, I pray this week that God opens your eyes to someone that you can bless.  In return, you will be blessed!

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Let us pray:
Dearest Lord, You are amazing and loving and the Blesser of our lives.  You give so much love to each one of us.  You give us a life of abundance and we praise You for it all.  Oh Lord, may we be Your hands and feet to the hurting and needy of this world.  Help us to be intentional about our lives and live to love all people and serve them as You do.  Open our hearts, Lord, to receive the message that You want us to spread—the love of Jesus is so much that He died for them so that they can live with You forever.  As this song says, ” that’s the only way this world will ever know who You are…“.  We love You, in Jesus’ name, amen.

At The Cross (Love Ran Red)

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There’s a place where mercy reigns and never dies,
There’s a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down

At the Cross
At the Cross
I surrender my life
I’m in awe of You
I’m in awe of You
Where Your love ran red
And my sin washed white
I owe all to You
I owe all to You, Jesus

There’s a place where sin and shame are powerless
Where my heart has peace with God and forgiveness
Where all the love I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down

Here my Hope is found
Here on holy ground
Here I bow down
Here arms open wide
Here You save my life
Here I bow down
Here I bow down

Written by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jonas Myrin, Matt Armstrong, Matt Redman

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The center stage of our Christian faith is the Cross.  There our Savior, Jesus Christ, allowed Himself to be hanged on that torturous cross to bleed, suffocate, and die.  Why would anyone do such a thing? Because,

God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Sin and shame imprison everyone.  They bind us in chains that cannot be broken—but for God.  God in His mercy (His compassion) and grace (unmerited favor) loved(s) us, His creation, so much that He chose to make the perfect sacrifice for all people through the crucifixion of His Son, Jesus.  Jesus’ blood was more powerful than any sin or shame that we have ever endured or will ever endure.  Jesus shed His blood for each of us.  His blood dripping from that Cross was His love running red, flowing down into the very depths of our soul to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Here are just a few Scriptures that make it clear that we in our sins are powerless, but that the blood from God’s perfect sacrifice, Jesus His Son, is powerful enough to wash our ugly sins as white as snow.

All of us also lived among them (children of disobedience) at one time,
gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.
Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions
—it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:3-5

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.
And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous.
He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.
For God presented Jesus as the Sacrifice for sin.
People are made right with God
when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood.
Romans 3:22-25

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
Isaiah 1:18

The Royal blood of Jesus is more powerful than all our sins.  His “love ran red and my (our) sin washed white.”  There at the Cross sin is powerless.  There at the Cross is where love, forgiveness, hope, and peace are found.  When we personally accept Jesus’ great sacrificial love for ourselves, we are made right with God.  From that point on we can have a personal relationship with Him.  His Holy Spirit will dwell with us.  And we can be assured that we will spend eternity with God.

If you have not yet accepted God’s love for you, please take the time today to do this.  God gave His Son.  Jesus gave His blood.  What are you willing to give for such love?  I pray that you give Him your all.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3

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Dear Jesus, thank You so much for allowing Yourself to be the Sacrifice, once and for all, to save us from our sins and shame.  We bow before You on holy ground with our arms open wide, because here at the Cross Your blood (love) ran red so our sins could be washed white. You have saved us.  Herein is our Hope.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord!  In Jesus’ Name we praise and worship our God of Love.  Amen, It is so!

 

Pass It On

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It only takes a spark
To get a fire going
And soon all those around
Can warm up to its glowing
That’s how it is with God’s love
Once you’ve experienced it
You spread your love to everyone
You want to pass it on

What a wondrous time is spring
When all the trees are budding
The birds begin to sing,
The flowers start their blooming
That’s how it is with God’s love
Once you’ve experienced it
You want to sing, it’s fresh like spring
You want to pass it on

I wish for you my friend,
This happiness that I’ve found
You can come join in,
It matters not where you’re bound
I’ll shout it from the mountain tops
I want the world to know
The joy of friends has come to me
I want to pass it on

Composed by Kurt Kaiser ~ Sung by Evie Tournquist (Karlsson)

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As I start this new year of 2015, I must force myself to take a few moments to review what my past year has been, and to reflect on what I want in my new year.  It’s very easy for me to just keep running from December 31, 2014 right into January 1, 2015 without even thinking about it.

This past year I have grown more in love with Jesus.  There have been good times when the flame of His love has burned brightly for all to see.  And then there were the tough times when it seemed to be only a spark hidden in the ashes.  It could only be seen when I looked closely and stirred the ashes around.  In the hardest of times…in the darkest of moments…I’ve known deep in my heart that He was still with me and my family and my friends.  I just needed to stir the ashes to find the spark and get the fire going again.

That’s how it is with God’s love.  His love is always with us through all that we go through.  It may seem that our circumstances (ashes) have suffocated it but, thank God, that is impossible.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

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?
(As the Scriptures say, “For Your sake we are killed every day;
we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)
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.
Romans 8:35-39 NLT

In this new year with this wonderful promise, I pray that the light of God’s love will shine through me and that the warmth from the flame of His love will touch the hearts of others.  I want to pass on ‘this happiness that I’ve found’ in Christ to those around me—friend and stranger alike.  Is this your desire and prayer for 2015?

With great love, I pray this over my grandchildren…and now I pray this over each of you:

…I pray to our Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit.  Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him.  Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  Now all glory to God, Who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.  Glory to Him in the Church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever!  Amen.

Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT

If you have the light of Christ’s love in you—pass it on in 2015.

What Is A Peacemaker

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Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:18 NIV

I am a peacemaker by nature; a conflict resolver at any cost, or at least I used to be.  I don’t think that is the kind of peacemaker James is referring to.  He is actually talking about healthy peacemakers who are personally at peace with God‘s authority and willing to bring a sense of peace wherever they go.  It doesn’t matter who they are with…they just have that gift.

Turn in your Bible to James 3:13-4:1

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.  What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? (New Living Translation)

What a hard question he is asking the people!  And what kind of answer do you think you would have given him?  What does cause the fighting among God’s people?  I think the answer comes in the second question that is asked: “Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?”  That answer is yes.

The fact is: conflict is part of our human condition.  It exists in most households, offices, and churches.  But just because there is conflict, doesn’t mean that there has to be fighting and quarreling.  However, they usually go hand in hand, especially if people are not willing to take responsibility for their own part in an argument.  They find someone or something to blame for their actions instead of just admitting the wrong that they did or the words that they said.

But God calls us to be different.  As His children, we pray for the wisdom to do the hard things—like admitting we were wrong and asking for forgiveness.  He calls us to be humble, knowing that we are human and will make mistakes. Read James 3:13 again.  The writer is reminding us that one who is wise and understands God’s ways will show it by deeds done in humility.  Saying we are sorry requires humility and that means admitting to others that we are actually wrong sometimes.  (We don’t like that very much.)  But in order to be the light that Jesus calls us to be and to be the witness that leads others to Him we must right our wrongs.

This is the kind of peacemaker that God calls us to be.  The kind that humbles themselves and shows love to others.  Seeking God’s wisdom delivers us from the need to be right all the time and helps us become the humble servant to those that we come in contact with.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.
Matthew 5:9

 { You are a child of God….  }

Do you know this God that loves you so much?  He is your Father and He wants so much to be in your life.  Or maybe you know Him but you’ve moved away from Him and need to get back on track.  If so, He is waiting and He will meet you right where you are.

I would love for you to pray this prayer with me today:

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and I need forgiveness.  I am far from You today and I want to change that.  I believe that Jesus is Your Son and He died for my sins.  I ask that Jesus come into my heart today and be Lord of my life.  Walk with me…gve me more knowledge of You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Sun Is Shining

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Yesterday I found
That everything I knew was wrong
It was upside down
The life I thought I had was gone

But You came and whispered love to me
And You gave me strength to carry on

Oh, the sun is shining
There is hope for me again
A new day’s dawning
The sun is shining

Yesterday I lost
Everything I had and loved
Then I cried out for You, Lord
And You came and picked me up

And the sorrow lasted through the night
But the joy came with the morn

I will lift my voice
No, I won’t be silent
For You heard my cry
And You turned my mourning into dancing
And so forever I’ll sing

Singer/Songwriter: Mac Powell, along with Third Day

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It’s still the beginning of January…the beginning of a new year but sometimes we are stuck looking at the past.  All the things we were going to do in 2014 aren’t done.  The patience we were going to master towards our kids?…well, we are still impatient and saying some words we regret at the end of the day.  The wife we were going to be—the one who had dinner on the table and clothes clean and in their right places and an immaculate house?…well, we still have baskets of socks that don’t match and frozen lasagna still goes into the oven at the end of a long day.

But we are NOT failures in Jesus.
We ARE more than conquerors when we have God as our Father.

Maybe you’ve lost someone or something that meant the world to you and stepping into this year without them seems impossible.  But God does whisper in your ear today and says, “You are mine, and I am yours…and together we can do this.”

You are not alone, my friends.  His strength is your strength.  And always there is darkness before the dawn, and the sun always comes out…always.  Joy does come in the morning.  And doesn’t a new day bring some hope?

Some seasons are harder than others and some days seem to last forever.  There were days that I myself just had the strength to lift up my head and cry out to Jesus for the strength to make it through one more minute.

He always showed up and He still does.

And when you do see His face and the light of the new day starts peeping through, don’t be silent.  Use your voice to give hope to others who may be where you have been.  I leave you today with the verses that I clung to during a particularly hard, long season:

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Romans 12:12

Lord, You know the hopes of the helpless.
Surely You will hear their cries and comfort them.
Psalm 10:17

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for,
the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen.
Hebrews 11:1

For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5 ESV

And my favorite:
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for the power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

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Let’s pray:
Dearest Lord, You are mighty and awesome.  You are our Strength in our struggles, the Light in the darkness, and our Peace that passes all understanding.  You love us so much and forgive our every debt.  Thank You for walking with us into this new year. Help us to make lists of all the good You do and not the failures that we see…for You see us so much better than we see ourselves.  You see us as precious children that You saved with Your only Son, Jesus.  We love You and praise You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

Start A Fire

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

This world can be cold and bitter
Feels like we’re in the dead of winter
Waiting on something better
But am I really gonna hide forever

Over and over again
I hear Your voice in my head
Let Your light shine, let Your light shine for all to see

Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me

You only need a spark to start a whole blaze
It only takes a little faith
Let it start right here in this city
So these old walls will never be the same

Over and over again
I hear Your voice in my head
They need to know
I need to go
Spirit won’t You fall on my heart now

You are the Light on the darkest day
We have the hope, we bear Your name
We carry the news that You have come to save
Only You can save

Writer(s): Jon Lowry / Chad Mattson / Seth Mosley

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I’m not a New Year’s resolution-type of person, due to the fact that I forget the next day.  So instead, I make lists of how good my God is and all that He has done for me. And in return, I want to tell all the world of His goodness and mercy and grace.  I want to be the light that shines for Him, so that when people see me, they see all that God has redeemed and restored.  Oh, I’m not perfect nor am I always the Jesus-follower I should be, but I keep following.

In the same way, let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your Father in Heaven.
Matthew 5:16

I don’t think it means that we are to do all this good all for the world to see—just to shine the light on ourselves.  It means that all we do and say should reflect the One Who created us and glorify Him—Jesus!!!—so that all will want what we have.  And what a perfect time to ask for a fresh start…a rekindled fire…so that there is no doubt that it is God that we need.

As the song says, He is the Light on the darkest day and we cannot keep this hope to ourselves!  It’s just too good to keep in.  We live in such a dark, hurting world that is full of so much pain.  There are so many sad people that truly need a Savior and we need to share what we have with all the world!  Love, love His people by reaching out to them.  Not just people you don’t know but also those you work with, go to church with, live with…shine no matter where you are.

The place that seems to be the hardest is home, anyone agree?  We tend to let our light fizzle a bit here.  We think, “they know us, they know we love Jesus,” so we lose patience with the ones closest to us and we forget that they, too, need to see the light of Jesus in us.  And moms…our children will imitate us and talk like us to each other.  I know that is something to really think about and pray about.  So before your feet hit the floor, ask Jesus to fill you up  each day so that His light spills over to those you come in contact with!  Let’s pray for each other, shall we?  And look up those verses in His Word today that give hope and write them on cards and put them to memory.  Teach them to your children and watch your world get a little brighter…and carry that light with you wherever you go.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Matthew 5:14

And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness cannot comprehend it.
John 1:5

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

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Let us pray: Dear God, thank You for walking with us into this new year of 2015.  You are our light in this dark world, our hope that we hold onto when all is falling apart, and our song that we sing when the world is so loud.  Thank You for Your grace and mercy and love.  I pray that we can be that light to all Your children, ones that are walking in darkness and need You so much.  Nothing is wasted, Lord; You make good out of everything. and the way we handle the hard will glorify You if we keep You at the center.  Help us to keep shining for You and to not keep this awesome joy and this peace (that only You can give) to ourselves.  Start a fire in us and keep it burning until You come again.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Come As You Are (Redux)

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Redux means to revisit, bring back, re-release.  This last week of 2014, we —the bloggers here at Girlfriends Coffee Hour—are each ‘revisiting’ a blog we wrote earlier this year.

We would love to share with you just a bit about how very good God has been to us!  He has given us all so much grace and mercy, blessings and provision, protection and guidance!  He has led us and taught us through His Holy Spirit so many incredible things!  He has molded, and chastised, and encouraged us to be daughters with humble hearts who are dependent upon Him.  And He has helped us to be strong, committed, and faithful women  who love Him and desire to bring Him much honor and glory and majesty.

We pray that our words would encourage you also…and draw You deeper into relationship with the One Who loves you so!  Here are my friend Kim Spring’s words.

After Christmas, and now the new year is on the way…I look back on some of the songs that really touched my life.  This one Come As You Are still brings me to my knees. The fact that He accepts me just as I am, loves me, and forgives my every sin is totally humbling!  And one of the hardest things for me to do is to rest at His feet. {I am working on this.}

“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal”; I am claiming this, accepting this, that there is nothing too big or small, old or new problem, whether it is my own pit I have jumped in or whether it is  a pit I’ve been pushed into.  God can heal and redeem and renew!  Will you claim this with me and believe too that all is okay  and you can bring anything to the Cross. And most of all, you  CAN come as you are. You WILL find grace and mercy. You WILL find rest and you will find love unconditional.  Can I invite you to come along with me?  We can be just as we are!

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Come out of sadness from wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner, come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That Heaven can’t heal

Lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer, come home
You’re not too far
So, lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That Heaven can’t cure

Come as you are
Fall in His arms
Come as you are
There’s joy for the morning
Oh sinner, be still
Earth has no sorrow
That Heaven can’t heal

Songwriters: David Crowder, Ben Glover, Matt Maher
Performed by David Crowder and the Passion Band

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How awesome is it that we can come into the Presence of the Creator of the universe, the King of Kings, and we can just be who we are…?  We don’t have to get good enough or perfect enough—we can come as we are.  He knows us better than we know ourselves and He loves us in spite of us.

You’re not too far” -You can never go too far that His arms can’t reach you!  And He meets you there.  Give all your cares and hurts to Him.  He is able and willing to carry it all for you.  Matthew 11:28 says,”Come to Me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”  A rest that lasts a lifetime.  He never gets tired of rescuing us.

“Come sit at the table, come taste the grace” — His grace is free.  Where would we be without it?  2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  See?  There is rest for you at His feet.

There’s joy for the morning” Psalm 30: 5b,”Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning.”  Yes, this means that hard times won’t last forever and we will rejoice and be full of joy in the midst of the hard and know it’s a short time.  He never leaves us in that place for long.  And He is hope! For He has a beautiful life planned for you. Trust Him!

And the end of the song? “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t cure.”  So true!  Heaven can heal any sorrow on earth!  So today, we praise Him because we are His and He receives us… just as we are.

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Let us pray: Dear Lord, how amazing You are that You accept us and love us for who we are.  You know our faults and You give us mercy and grace when we stray.  You never give up on us, Lord.  You know our hearts, and You welcome us and meet us where we are in life.  Thank You for the joy that comes after the sorrow and for the rest You give us when life gets hard.  We love You, Lord!  In Jesus’ name, amen.