June 28, 2017

When Suddenly A Baby Cries

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How suddenly a baby cries and all forever change
As shepherds leave the angel song to find this holy place
Where in her young and trembling arms a virgin holds her Son
And in this Child of breath divine our Light has finally come

She ponders how the Magi kneel before Emmanuel
With gold and frankincense and myrrh Christ’s sacrifice they tell
A dream would help them flee a king whose pride would cruelly destroy
As mothers weep God’s mercy meets the hunger for His joy

What wonder still that Anna filled with praise should bless the Lord
Her aging eyes now looking on the Savior of the world
For night and day her prayers had filled the temple of our God
Her heart could tell His saving hand within this gift of love

Hear Simeon who had waited long draw near to hold the child
To speak of Him who would reveal the many thoughts we hide
That hearts would rise to know His grace but many fall away
A sword would pierce His mother’s soul upon redemption day

How suddenly a baby cried and all forever changed
Through history soul by soul have come to find His healing grace
He filled my troubled heart with peace, with hope of endless worth
My voice will join the song of praise that tells Messiah’s birth

 Kristyn Getty
Written and sung along with Keith Getty and Fionán de Barra

*    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

A baby’s first cry gets the attention of everyone around, yes?  At the very moment of birth, all in attendance pause to hear a baby’s first cry—expectant parents, other relatives and loved ones, the nurses, doctors, and other caregivers—and then sigh with joy, with relief, and with thankfulness at that wonderful sound!  When the baby Jesus was born, His cry, too, brought great joy to his parents, Joseph and Mary. Think of the setting:

And while they were there, the time came for her delivery,
And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn;
and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger,
because there was no room or place for them in the inn.
Luke 2:6 and 7

Joseph and Mary had traveled many, many miles to come to Bethlehem to register in the census.  Upon their arrival, there was nowhere for them to stay but in a stable…and this is where Mary birthed her firstborn, Jesus, God’s Son.  Not the best surroundings!  So I would think baby Jesus’ first cry meant oh-so-very much to them!

But…both Joseph and Mary were fully aware of just Who this tiny baby was!  Both had been told of the significance of this baby’s life by angels. (Read the records here: Luke 1:26-38;   and  Matthew 1:18-25 .)  Don’t you think they each had contemplated for the entire duration of Mary’s pregnancy the magnitude and awesome, eternal implications of just Who their Son would be!  Think for a moment…place yourself in their sandals: when the baby was birthed and took His first breath and released a cry, can you only imagine the praises that must have welled up out of their hearts?  Can you imagine the look they must have exchanged as they realized that the promises that the angel had made to each of them came forth into fruition?  That initial cry of baby Jesus truly changed the world!  Perhaps Mary remembered the words she spoke when she was visiting her cousin Elizabeth:

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
…because the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and His name is holy.
His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him.”
Luke 1: 46-47 and 49-50

And so we, too, do also exclaim and praise!  Even now, don’t we love to sing these beautiful carols and anthems and songs that tell of Jesus’ coming and His birth.  We are reminded of all that first little cry meant as it sounded out that the Savior was born!  He had come…just as promised throughout the ages!  As the words of this beautiful song say,

How suddenly a baby cried and all forever changed
Through history soul by soul have come to find His healing grace
He filled my troubled heart with peace, with hope of endless worth
My voice will join the song of praise that tells Messiah’s birth”

*    ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★    *

May our voices rise up in praise and thankfulness to our heavenly Father!  Because of His great love for us (you and me!), He sent His Son to redeem and save us; to rescue us and make available to us a relationship with Him for all eternity.

Never—don’t EVER—doubt His love!

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38 and 39

Lift Your Head, Weary Sinner

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Lift your head, weary sinner, the river’s just ahead
Down the path of forgiveness salvation’s waiting there
You built a mighty fortress 10,000 burdens high
Love is here to lift you up, here to lift you high

If you’re lost and wandering
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide

All who’ve strayed and walked away, unspeakable things you’ve done
Fix your eyes on the mountain, let the past be dead and gone
Come, all saints and sinners, you can’t outrun God
Whatever you’ve done can’t overcome the power of the Blood

If you’re lost and wrecked again
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory be open wide

David Crowder Band
Songwriters: Ed Cash, David Crowder, Seth Philpott

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

One thing that we try to teach our children is that you always walk with your head held high.  Be proud of who you are.  We also teach them that there will be times in life when our actions or choices make this hard.  We will be weighed down by the impact of something we’ve said or done…and we can’t hold up our heads.  We feel as if the stares and whispers of others are directed at us.  We feel shame and guilt for something we are responsible for.  The first line of this song always grabs me… “Lift your head, weary sinner”… Maybe we’re not even aware that we are living life with our head down OR maybe it’s painfully obvious.

This song refers to the prodigal son, a situation we each have been familiar with at one point in time.  We have all been the prodigal daughter, and we all need to hear these words from time to time… “Lift your head, weary sinner”…  And I also try to remember the words of Romans 8:38-39:

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.

When we seek forgiveness and when our eyes are fixed on God, nothing can stand between us and Him.  His “gates of glory [are] opened wide“.

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Let’s Pray: Lord, there are times when we feel that we have turned so far away from You that it may seem as if we cannot turn back.  But Lord, through this song and through Your Word, you have reminded us that nothing can separate us from Your love.  Thank You for this.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

The Love Of God

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky

O love of God, how rich and pure
How measureless and strong
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song

The Gaither Family
composed by Frederick Lehman

 *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

We have been called and chosen.  Why?  Just one reason—Almighty God loves us.  Paul says that God has set His love on those whom He loves from all eternity (Ephesians 1:4).  If you are a child of God, there has never been a time when God did not know you and did not love you.  Before you were even born He had determined to set His love on you.  He chose us not because we were love-able; but we became love-able because He chose us and desired us.

In this is love: not that we loved God,
but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.
1 John 4:10

You see, at just the right time when we were still powerless,
Christ died for the ungodly.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person,
though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:6-8

From the foundations of time, Sovereign Almighty God has desired His children. And He made a way—a very, very hard way—for sinful, not love-able people to be brought to His Holy Self.  And that was through the sacrifice and death of His Son, Jesus Christ.  And then through the centuries leading up to the perfect time when Jesus would come to the earth to show this incredible love, at sporadic times there were a few people who recognized this love that God had for mankind. David the psalmist was one.  He wrote many, many times about the reality of God’s love for himself.

And even Job, through all his worrying and complaining and the very difficult times he had, knew and was convinced of God’s love for man. Listen…

What is man that you make so much of him
and that You set Your heart on him,
and visit him every morning…?
Job 7:17 and 18

God spoke through any number of the writers of the Scriptures of His love, grace, and mercy.

Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works,
but according to His own purpose and grace
which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,
2 Timothy 1:9

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Jeremiah 31:3

Particularly through the life of one prophet, Hosea, God showed what the depth of His love looked like…right alongside the depravity of the idolatry of His people.  The whole book of Hosea illuminates this truth but in particular I love one verse:

I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.
Hosea 11:4

And then Jesus came! And showed clearly the depth of God’s love for mankind. He lived love to the nth degree always being the epitome of God’s love.  Listen to this Truth (I know it is so because it is in God’s Word)…truth hard to comprehend but true nonetheless!

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing,
will be able to separate us from the love of God,

which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38 and 39

Such love is so very difficult to grasp with our minds, BUT, because God tells us so through Paul’s words, we KNOW it to be true!  And through the power and influence of the Holy Spirit we are able to experience it with our hearts.

…And that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:17-19

Truly not feasible by our own doing, our own efforts, our own works. And this is the awesome Truth of God’s desiring us—it is not based on you or me but completely on Him!

 *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Lord, I ask that You help each of us to hold these Truths in our minds and our hearts.  There is nothing greater than Your love!  There is no more sure thing than Your love!  Please help us to live every day confessing and believing that,

“…neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate <me> from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus <my> Lord.”

We stand in awe of You and this awesome love of Yours!  We love You and adore You; praying in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

He Knows My Name

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

He counts the stars one and all
He knows how much sand is on the shore
He sees every sparrow that falls
He made the mountain and the seas
He’s in control of everything
Of all creatures great and small

He knows my name
Every step that I take
Every move that I make
Every tear that I cry

And He knows my name 
When I’m overwhelmed by the pain
And can’t see the light of day

I know I’ll be just fine ‘cause He knows my name

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring
I can’t tell you what’s in store
I don’t know a lot of things
I don’t have all the answers to the questions of life
But I know in Whom I have believed

He knew who I was when He carried the cross
He knew that I would fail Him but He took the loss

 The McRaes
Written by Annie and Kelly McRae

*  ~  ♥  ~   ✞   ~  ♥  ~  *

For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening
nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation
will be able to separate us {me!} from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38 and 39

This passage seems to have been my almost constant confession this past week or so….  Oh, and how I endeavor to cling to these promises!  I want to say, as Paul did, that ‘I am persuaded…’ though, I must admit, that I do falter in my persuasion.  And times do come when my little heart is not quite so brave.  But here’s what I do know….

…Nevertheless I am not ashamed:
for I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that He is able
to keep that which I have committed
unto Him against that day.
2 Timothy 1:12

And I remember, and am greatly encouraged, as I read through the Scriptures and see the strong evidence of God’s provision in the lives of His people…for example, His man Job.  Job went through much but he knew his life was in the Almighty’s sovereign and powerful hand.  And so, he could say this–

But He is unchangeable, and who can turn Him?
And what He wants to do, that He does.
For He performs [that which He has] planned for me,
and of many such matters He is mindful.
Job 23:13 and 14

I know that You can do all things and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2

See, me, myself, on my own?…well, I get weary; and I am not strong at times.  But not my God!  Oh, He is able!  He is unchangeable!  He is faithful!  He can do all things!  He keeps His promises!  And so I trust His Word(s).  Therefore when I remember He has said, “I formed you and made you,” “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” “My grace is sufficient for you…” I am encouraged and strengthened!

One of my favorite Scriptures is Psalm 139—it is such a beautiful prayer of praise to Almighty God!  Throughout this psalm, David acknowledges God’s providence, His sovereignty, His foreknowledge, His provision, His protection, His wisdom, and truly, His love.

Below are excerpts from Psalm 139…may I suggest you read these verses aloud, allowing Your eyes and ears and mind to take them in. Consider them, my friend; dwell on them.

And may your heart be reminded and strongly encouraged as you remember that God Almighty, your heavenly Father, truly KNOWS your name.  He knows you—every step, every move, every tear, every pain, all your heartache, all your ways.  He knows all about you, inside and out, before and behind, sitting down and rising up. He knows your inward parts, your frame, your thoughts, your words, all your ways, all your days.

He knows y.o.u., my friend…He knows your name!

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You,
For I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

Can He…Could He…Would He…Yes, He Can

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Can He (can He save me), could He (could He love me)
Would He (would He take me), did He (did He really)
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did
Can He (can He save me), could He (could He love me)
Would He (would He take me), did He (did He really)
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did

From the moment I heard about the Lord and His Word
Well, it seemed to be too good to be true
Major questions and doubts I tried to figure it out
But the best that I could do
Was to wander around in the love that I found
Until my questions started answering themselves, singing
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did

You can say you don’t know it’s necessarily so
Like somebody said it once in a song
You can think what you choose, but, let me tell you the news
The Lord has loved you all along
So if you’re asking again will the doubts never end,
Simply trust Him and you’ll see for yourself, singing
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did

Vocal Union
written by John Chisum, Dwight Liles
*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *
Cute song, yes?  But really these {Can He save me?  Could He love me? Would He take me?  Did He really?} are deep, vital questions!  And we each need to know—that we know—that we know the answers!  Oh, we might be able to say we do…but…are we convinced in our hearts?  The Scriptures give us the Truth to hold onto and treasure in our hearts for those times we may falter.

Can He save me?  Yes, He can…and He did!

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:3

For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:8 and 9

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven
that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

Could He love me?  Yes, He could…and He does!

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world
that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son,
so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
John 3:16 AMP

But God proves His own love for us
in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
Romans 5:8

This is love: not that we loved God,
but that He loved us
and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10

Would He take me?  Yes, He would…and He’ll never leave you!

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.
Psalms 103:8-14

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing,
will be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38 and 39

Then Peter opened his mouth and said:
Most certainly and thoroughly I now perceive
and understand that God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons,
But in every nation he who venerates and has a reverential fear for God,
treating Him with worshipful obedience and living uprightly,
is acceptable to Him and sure of being received and welcomed by Him.
Acts 10:34 and 35

Did He really (do ALL that)?
Yes, He did…and much, much more…and none of that will ever change!

 *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Can He?  Could He?  Would He?  YES, He can!  He could…He would…and He did!

Oh. Yes. He. Did.  (Don’t ever forget that!)   ♥

One Thing Remains

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing…remains

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me
On and on and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death, In life, I’m confident and
covered by the power of Your great love
My debt is paid, there’s nothing that can
separate my heart from Your great love

Jesus Culture
Written by: Brian Johnson, Christa Black Gifford and Jeremy Riddle

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

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 8:38-39 NLT

Go back and read those two verses again.  And again…and again.  Until it completely sinks in that NOTHING can or EVER will separate us from God’s love. When all else fails—when everyone else abandons you, when sin has defeated you—His love STILL remains!  Is that not the most comforting, reassuring thought ever?!?  No matter how far we have fallen, no matter what our past or present looks like, we can never fall out of the reach of His love.  Neither can our loved ones.  We are all held tightly in His hand and our names are written on His palm.

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever!
No one will snatch them out of My hand.
John 10:28 HCSB

Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of)
you on the palm of each of My hands;
Isaiah 49:16a AMP

What hope, what reassurance there is in each of these Scriptures!  Let us hold tightly to them.  Be confident in His great love and remember:

Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me!

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Father, thank You for such a great love.  Thank You for the hope, the reassurance we find in these Scriptures.  Let us hold tightly to them and always be mindful of them, for NOTHING can separate us from Your love.  In Your Holy name we pray, Amen – It Is SO!!

He Knows My Name

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

He counts the stars one and all
He knows how much sand is on the shore
He sees every sparrow that falls
He made the mountain and the seas
He’s in control of everything
Of all creatures great and small

He knows my name
Every step that I take, every move that I make, every tear that I cry
And He knows my name
When I’m overwhelmed by the pain and can’t see the light of day
I know I’ll be just fine ‘cause He knows my name

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring
I can’t tell you what’s in store
I don’t know a lot of things
I don’t have all the answers to the questions of life
But I know in Whom I have believed

He knows my name
Every step that I take, every move that I make, every tear that I cry
And He knows my name 
When I’m overwhelmed by the pain and can’t see the light of day
I know I’ll be just fine ‘cause He knows my name 

He knew who I was when He carried the cross
He knew that I would fail Him but He took the loss

 The McRaes
Written by Annie and Kelly McRae

*  ~  ♥  ~   ✞   ~  ♥  ~  *

This passage seems to have been my almost constant confession this past week or so…listen.

For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening
nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation
will be able to separate us {me!} from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38 and 39

Oh, and how I endeavor to cling to these promises!  I want to say, as Paul did, that ‘I am persuaded…’ though, I must admit that I do falter in my persuasion.  And times do come when my little heart doesn’t sing out quite as bravely.  But here’s what I do know….

…Nevertheless I am not ashamed:
for I know whom I have believed,
and am persuaded that He is able
to keep that which I have committed
unto Him against that day.
2 Timothy 1:12

And I remember and am greatly encouraged as I read through the Scriptures and see the strong evidence of God’s provision in the lives of His people…for example, His man Job.  Job went through much but he knew his life was in the Almighty’s sovereign and powerful hand.  And so, he could say this–

But He is unchangeable, and who can turn Him?
And what He wants to do, that He does.
For He performs [that which He has] planned for me,
and of many such matters He is mindful.
Job 23:13 and 14

I know that You can do all things and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2

See, me, myself, on my own?…well, I get weary; and I am not strong at times.  But not my God!  Oh, He is able!  He is faithful!  He keeps His promises!  And so I trust His Word(s).  Therefore when I remember He has said, “I formed you and made you,” “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” “My grace is sufficient for you…” I am encouraged and strengthened!

One of my favorite Scriptures is Psalm 139.  It is such a beautiful prayer of praise of Almighty God!  Throughout this psalm, David acknowledges God’s providence, His sovereignty, His foreknowledge, His provision, His protection, His wisdom, and truly, His love.

Here are excerpts from this psalm…may I suggest you read these verses aloud, allowing Your eyes and ears and mind to take them in. Consider them, my friend; dwell on them.

And may your heart be reminded and strongly encouraged as you remember that God Almighty, your heavenly Father, truly KNOWS your name.  He knows you—every step, every move, every tear, all your ways. He knows all about you, inside and out, before and behind, sitting down and rising up. He knows your inward parts, your frame, your thoughts, your words, all your ways, all your days.

He knows y.o.u., my friend…He knows your name!

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You,
For I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You. 

Child Forgiven

 Many of you have gone on Spring Break or are anticipating taking a vacation this summer.  It is a time to refresh spirit, soul, and body.  Over the next couple of weeks, our faithful bloggers will be taking a ‘spring break’ from writing so that they can come back to us refreshed and freshly anointed. 

However, Girlfriends’ Coffee Hour website won’t ‘go black’!  We will be revisiting some of our favorite blogs and daily devotions which have blessed us in the past.  We pray that each of you, our faithful friends and readers, will continue to start your day meditating on the devotionals and songblogs, and be encouraged and blessed.

Let’s give each of our bloggers a big round of applause, a hug,
and the rest they so deserve.  God bless you, ladies!

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv
I thought I had my bases covered

My destiny was in control
But I could see I’d never reach perfection
The day I hit a slick spot in the road

After that I thought my life was over
But Jesus had a different point of view
All I did was confess, and Jesus did the rest
Thank God I’ve been released and made brand new

You’re looking at a child forgiven
You’re looking at a soul set free
You’re looking at a pardoned prisoner who’s walking now in liberty
I’m standing here because of wondrous grace
My sins are in the deepest sea
He washed me clean somehow
So what you’re seeing now
Is a happy, happy child set free

Now what you see is not a perfect person
What you see is not a faultless soul
What you see is someone who was broken
Until the hand of Jesus made me whole

What you see is not a finished product
What you see might sometimes miss the mark
But I know my Father’s eyes see only His sweet prize
The perfect holy children that we are

The Gaither Vocal Band
Songwriters: Suzanne Jennings and Bill Gaither

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Hey, before we go any further, would you do one thing, please?  Would you go look in the mirror….  Now, see there?!  There is a “child forgiven, a happy happy child set free”…you!

But for the grace of God, we would still be prisoners and slaves to sin. But for His wondrous and amazing grace, we would be without hope.  But,

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.
There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace….
Romans 3:22-24

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness,
and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13 and 14

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.
Ephesians 1:4

One of the joy-filled lines of this song is “But I know my Father’s eyes see only His sweet prize—the perfect holy children that we are…”.  Now I know we aren’t completely and totally perfectly perfect yet…but remember Jesus told His disciples (and us!) to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

The apostle Paul, who is such a wonderful example to us of how to live righteously, wrote of his own struggle with this Truth:

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on
so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude;
and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;
however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
Philippians 3:12-16

It is so very important to remember the Truth of who you are in Christ.  Here are just a few aspects of this reality that, by God’s grace, He has made us to be.

  • I am forgiven; Jesus paid my debt

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature,
God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us
and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the Cross.
Colossians 2:13 and 14

  • I am His child

Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God.
John 1:12

  • I belong to Him

Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him]
and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist],
because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4

  • I am chosen, holy

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people belonging to God,
that you may declare the praises of Him
who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9

  • I cannot be separated from His love

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39

  • I have been given strength to do all which God calls me to do

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me
[I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him
Who infuses inner strength into me…].
Philippians 4:13

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…Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come…
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead,
and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us
and released us from our sins by His blood—
Revelations 1:4 and 5

In Christ Alone

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my Light, my Strength, my Song;
This Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my all in all—here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones He came to save.
‘Til on that Cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory, sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—this is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand;
‘Til He returns or calls me home—here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

Keith and Krystin Getty and Band
written by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

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The words of a song can be so stirring!  For myself, I have found hymns to have this effect on me.  A choir director once told me that hymns are songs that “are soaked in doctrinal truth.”  One definition of hymns says that they are “… songs that help teach faith.”  What we sing through this type of song can profoundly affect how we think and feel.  And each of us have our own favorite hymns and choruses…they come to mean so much to our hearts!  This song, In Christ Alone, is considered a modern-day hymn. It contains such foundational truth.

Take for example, the very first three words of this song, “In Christ alone…” You could say them in other ways, too—‘only Jesus…’ ‘Jesus is everything to me…’ ‘You, Lord, JUST You…’

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
And He is the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything He might have the supremacy.
Colossians 1:15-18

In and through Jesus we have been given so very much!  He truly is our ‘Light… (John 8:12), our Strength… (Psalms 28:7 and 8), our Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:5 and 6)!’

I just love to sing these next lines of this song; they are so beautiful!

What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!

My Comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand.

Through Jesus, also, we have love (Romans 8:38 and 39), peace (Philippians 4:7), comfort (Psalm 46:10)!  He IS our ‘All in All.’

And when all things shall be subdued unto him,
then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him
that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
1 Corinthians 15:28

In Jesus our hope, our trust, our constant assurance is in the right place—on the solid foundation of who we are in Christ.  In my own life I seem to need continual reminding  to not let my feelings get in the way or my circumstances be allowed to dictate my actions.  But, as we (I!) stand firmly on the unchangeable truths of the gospel of Christ, our (my!) faith is being continuously built.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul,
a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,
where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us….
Hebrews 6:19 and 20

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How about you?  Do the words of this beautiful hymn evoke a response in your heart when you hear them?  (I would so LOVE to ‘hear’ your answer in the comments below.)

The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean,
In its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Thy glorious rest above

O the deep, deep love of Jesus
Spread His praise from shore to shore
How He loveth, ever loveth
Changeth never, evermore
How He watches o’er His loved ones
Died to call them all His own
How for them He intercedeth
Watcheth o’er them from the Throne

O the deep, deep love of Jesus
’Tis a heav’n of heav’ns to me
And it lifts me up to glory
For it lifts me up to Thee
And it lifts me up to glory

Selah
Lyrics: Samuel Francis / Music: Thomas Williams 

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Such a stirring, convicting song!  These lyrics remind us of the immensity and the magnitude of Jesus’ love.  As the song goes, “…vast, unmeasured, boundless….”  No love on this earth ever was, nor ever will be, any greater!  His is a deep, deep love!

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down His life for His friends.
John 15:13

Truly, it could only have been His pure love that compelled Him to die for us. Jesus was fully aware of the kind of sacrifice that was required to redeem mankind.  In His last moments of freedom, while praying in the Garden at Gethsemene, He agonized over what He knew was to come.  And yet, He did it. For us…with deep, deep love!

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps
for a good man someone would dare even to die.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood,
we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God
through the death of His Son, much more,
having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Romans 5:6-10

And so deep is this love of Jesus for us that it requires being born-again—to have Christ living in us—to even be able to comprehend this deep, deep love!

…that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend
with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ…
Ephesians 3:17-19

But, by God’s grace and through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, we are given some insight into this love.  And to begin to know this love.   To fully comprehend this kind of love I truly believe it will take having the new minds and new bodies which are promised to us when He returns.  Perhaps it is just too much for us to completely understand His deep, deep love at this point.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38 and 39

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you…” (John 15:12).  These were Jesus’ words to His closest friends during the last meal He would share with them.  He knew the time was imminent and that the time was at hand when He would show His deep, deep love.  He gave clear command to them (and to us—we are to do the same).

And so, what does that mean to you (me, too) today?  How will we show this deep, deep love of Jesus to others today?  This wasn’t Jesus’ suggestion or even His plea…it was His command.  And it is how the world will know that we ARE His!

By this all people will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.
John 13:35