September 21, 2017

You Reign Alone

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There is no one greater than You
All our praise belongs to You
Holy in power
Faithful and true
There is none like You

There is no one stronger than You
Sin forever conquered by You
Fearless in life
Faithful in death
There is none like You

Lord, You reign
You reign alone
Exalted over all the earth enthroned
The majesty and greatness of Your name
Let all creation say ‘Lord, You reign’

There is none more loving than You
Near to all who call out to You
Your mercies anew
You’re faithful and true
There is none like You

No One is higher than
The King above all nations
No one is like You God
The name of Jesus is
Higher than any other
No one is like You God

Written by Wade Joye and London Gatch / Elevation Worship

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I love singing Scripture and this song is full of Scripture!   The writers used Psalm 96 as their inspiration, and here are just a few other verses that declare the character and greatness of God.

There is none like You, O LORD; You are great, and great is Your name in might.
Jeremiah 10:6

Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God?
Psalm 77:3

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

For the LORD Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth.
Psalm 47:2

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.
But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Jesus came and told His disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.
Matthew 28:18

They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them
because He is Lord of lords and King of kings—
and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers.
Revelation 17:14

As I sang this song and meditated on it, I kept coming back to the words “You reign alone.” As a verb, ‘reign’ refers to holding a royal office, to be sovereign, to rule.  As a noun, ‘reign’ refers to the period of time during which a sovereign rules.

The Lord reigns; He is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; He has put on strength as His belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.
Psalms 93:1-2

In this Scripture (one of many), it is confirmed both that our Lord is reigning now, He is sovereign, AND His reign is forever.  For me (and I hope for you) that establishes an assurance in my heart that I am safe, cared for, and secure.  In a home where neither parent assumes responsibility to be head of the household, the children feel insecure and even unloved.  For us, as children of God, we never have to feel that way.  God reigns, He has always reigned, and He has taken responsibility to make sure that we are secure and loved through the sacrifice of His one and only Son, Jesus, for our salvation. Ladies, we don’t need to look to anyone else or anything else for this security and love.

For You are great and do wondrous things; You alone are God.
Psalm 86:10

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this:
‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD.
Mark 12:29

God alone (Who needs no help from anyone or anything else) rules and reigns.  He is quite capable of and wanting very much to take care of us.  Our God is faithful and true, loving and merciful, holy and just, strong and majestic!  This great God, Who reigns alone in all the universe, loves you and me.  There is definitely no one like our God.  Please join me today in singing to and worshiping our Sovereign Lord and King!

And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea.
They sang: “Blessing and honor and glory and power belong
to the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
Revelation 5:13

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.

Esther – Chapter 3:8-11

Haman the Agagite is an arrogant, prejudiced, hateful, bold-faced liar. He was given a position of honor by King Xerxes (Ahasuerus), but that wasn’t enough for him – he had to be worshipped, as well.  And when Haman wasn’t worshipped by Mordecai, he leveled a false charge of disobedience or insubordination against an entire race of people, wrapped it up in an ingratiating package that looked like loyalty and served it up to the king.  Deceived, the king obliged him.

Does Haman sound like anyone else you know??  May I speak Southern, ladies?  Haman is the devil.  (We call all manner of things “the devil” in the south that seek to do us harm – that nosey neighbor, preparing your taxes, cupcakes…. You get the picture.)  Now Haman is not LITERALLY the devil, but he has so many of Satan’s characteristics – elevated to a high place, yet wanting the worship due the King (God); arrogant; hate filled; a definite prejudice against God’s people and a liar.  In this book, Darlene reminds us of Job’s story, where Satan has an exchange with God about Job, and she calls him a tattletale of sorts; “… who puts God’s people in the worst possible light to discredit our faith as he seeks to tempt and destroy all believers” (page 39).  I do agree, but let’s call things as they are – Satan is known in the Bible as the accuser.

“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ.  For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down”  (Revelation 12:10 NIV).

To accuse, per the dictionary, is to charge with a shortcoming or error, or charge with a wrongdoing, fault, offense or crime. Sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it?  Satan, per Revelation, stands before God day and night charging you and me with wrongdoings, with crimes against God, with faults. What did Haman say in verse 8?  “They do not obey the King’s laws; it is not in the King’s best interest to tolerate them.” (Esther 2:8, NIV) Furthermore, he suggests that he be allowed to destroy them (verse 9).  Unlike the King, God is not deceived! The blood of his son, Jesus, was willingly shed for you to save your life and make you a brand new person!  In Psalm 103:12, it says: “He (God) has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.” (NLT)  Not perfect?  No problem!  In 1 John 1:9, John says that “If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)

Now hear me, sisters.  If Satan is working day and night to accuse us before God, and God’s not listening to him, who do you think believes Satan’s lying garbage?  We do.  What does Satan’s accusations look like?  Stop me when this sounds familiar: “You don’t obey God’s commands.”  You think God can love you with your past?”  “You’ll never be good enough.”  “You’ll never amount to anything.”  “You aren’t a very good Christian.”  “You’ve never finished anything you’ve started.  Why even try?”  “Do you really think you’re equipped to lead a small group/start a ministry/teach a class/make a difference?”  “God doesn’t care about you. Why bother?”  Lies, lies, LIES!!!   Satan is going to be punished for all eternity, and he’s trying to take everybody with him.  If he can’t get God to sign off on you (never happen!), then he’ll try  to get you to give up on God.

That’s why Ephesians 6:10-18 is so important .  It tells us how to shield ourselves “…against the devil’s schemes” (verse11).  This passage tells us about putting on “the armor of God.”  There are many ways that we can protect ourselves from Satan’s schemes, but only one way to fight back – with the Word of God, which is called the “sword of the Spirit” (verse 17).  When Satan whispers some lie in your ear, tell him (and remind yourself!) what ALMIGHTY GOD says about you!  You are LOVED (John 3:16) ! You are REDEEMED (Galatians 3:13, Psalm 107:2).  You are PERFECT (Psalms 139:13-14)!  You are a CHILD OF THE KING (1 John 3:1)!!

Enough, sisters!  Have you allowed Satan to accuse you of things that God refuses to hold against you, or even think about you?  No more!  If you see yourself as “less than,” let’s ask God to help you see the truth; you are royalty!  You are a child of the King!

 

Let’s pray:

Holy God, I thank You that You love me!  Thank you that You willingly sacrificed the life of Your son so that I can live eternally with You! God, I’ll be honest, sometimes it’s hard to see myself as You see me.  I see my faults, my failures, my attempts and where I don’t measure up. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever make a difference for Your kingdom, or if I’ll ever be good enough to be used by You.  And Satan is constantly attempting to drag me down!  Help me, Lord!   Help me to see my beauty given to me by You!

Help me to see the talents, giftings, and unique abilities that You have provided me by Your Holy Spirit.  Remind me, Lord, in ways that only You can, that I am Your child and am incredibly special.  Thank You for Your invaluable Word, Your infinite grace, wisdom and strength!  Thank You for every good and perfect gift that comes from You.

Shine Your light of love on me, Lord, so much that it pours out and strengthens others.  Help me to remember that through the blood of Your Son Jesus, Satan has NO POWER OVER ME!   Praise You, Lord!  Let my life be Your glory!  In Your Son’s name.

Amen