April 23, 2017

Amen

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You have given us a new name
The sons and daughters of Your righteousness

And You have taken all of our shame
And given us the gift of holiness

Lord we’re crying out for faith
To believe the words You say

You say we are loved
You say we belong to You
Your Grace is enough
Nothing more that we can do
You say we’ve been bought
By Your blood, by Your blood
And all that we can say
Is Amen
Amen

You have given us a new hope
An anchor for the soul that shall not fail

Jesus we believe Your truth shines
Yes in the darkest night You shall prevail

Lord we’re crying out for faith
To believe the words You say

Amen, Your word is true
Amen, we trust in You

Steven Curtis Chapman
written along with Rend Collective
*   ♥  ~  ✝  ~  ★   *

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy.
I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.
John 10:10

Jesus…the one Name that takes away all fear and shame.  He is the Hope that we hold on to and the Anchor that keeps us grounded.

The enemy comes at us in so many ways, especially this time of year when our focus gets a little off. We should be thinking of how awesome it is that Jesus came as a small baby to save us from sin. Instead we get so frustrated and overwhelmed because we have so much to buy and it always feels like it is never enough.

What if we had kept Christmas about Him—would we be a bit happier, more joyful?  What if we gave instead of received?  What if we praised Him for His provision instead of petitioning for more? What if we just rested in Him this season and soaked in the love that He has for us.  And reminded ourselves that HE is always for us. {Can I get an Amen?}

So today, I pray that hope prevails in your life…and that Jesus fills you with peace and love…and that you spread it to all that will listen.  And, if you do not have a relationship with Him…and IF you want to know this Jesus, He is here for you!  Just pray this prayer today…

Jesus, come into my heart.  I know that I am a sinner and I need forgiveness.  I believe You died for me.  I want to live with You as Lord of my Life!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

He Still Fulfills

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In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her,  and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Then she exclaimed with a loud cry:

“You are the most blessed of women, and your child will be blessed!

How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me!  She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!”

Luke 1:39-45

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I remember the months before each one of my children were born…and the excitement and fear all wrapped into one emotion.  And what made it even better?  If a few friends were pregnant at the same time, too.  There is something about sharing those times.  And Mary was no different.

Yes, she was carrying the Savior of the world but she was also just a girl, a simple one at that, excited about sharing this time with her cousin who was also with child.  The children would be cousins and friends.  I imagine their conversations went late into the night.  Talks of swollen feet and aching backs.  Maybe of how ready they were to meet each baby.  Yes, they were ready!

“How could this happen to me, the mother of my Lord should come to me?”  Elizabeth got to touch the belly where Jesus was.  And today, He lives inside of us.  We are the blessed ones.  We are the ones full of joy.  So what will we do with it—this excitement?  Who will we share the good news with?  There is a hurting world that has lost some of it’s hope.  And we know that Jesus is the answer  to it all.

Yes, He  came as a small little baby but grew into a man who would lead a group of disciples. They would love Him so much that they would leave it all behind, just to follow Him wherever He would go. He would give sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf.  He would love the least of these, feeling more at home with them. He loved all people so much that He would ultimately die for each one. Even you!  He is coming again here to earth to take us to Heaven to live there forever. I get chills just thinking about it.

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But there are some who are still lost and hurting this Christmas season.  If this is you, and you don’t know Jesus, I urge you to pray this prayer with me.

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and I need a Savior. I am so tired of doing this on my own. I believe that Jesus is Your Son and that He died to take away all sin, including mine. I will get to live with You forever. Please forgive me for my sins. I trust You now with my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

2000 Decembers Ago

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Did it feel like a night any different
Then at least a million before
Was there any rare expectation
Like there was some kind of something in store
Did the sky have to hold back the thunder
Did the moon find new reasons to glow
Could the children somehow sense the wonder
2000 Decembers ago

Were the sheep as amazed as the shepherds
At the new star that lit up the sky
Did the willow trees whisper excitement
To the rivers and streams passing by
Did the joy ricochet off the mountains
‘Til it filled up the valleys below
Did all the world sense love abounding
2000 Decembers ago

Was anyone able to look at the stable
And not see a child but a King
I wish I could hear back over the years
As heaven and nature sing, heaven and nature sing

Did the walls of the barn start to tremble
With a glory they could not contain
Did anyone wake with the feeling
Of peace that they could not explain
Oh the love must have been overwhelming
As it warmed everyone in its flow
For all of the earth is still telling
Of 2000 Decembers ago

Oh, the love must have been overwhelming
2000 Decembers ago


Written and sung by Joy Williams

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For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God,
and saying, Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:11-14 KJV

I remember the first time I laid eyes on my firstborn.  I felt a love that I couldn’t even put into words.  I looked at every detail and found her absolutely perfect.  I imagine that God felt the same way that night.

There, in a dirty stable, a King was born.  That tiny baby would become the Savior of the world.  And yes, He is a King, but He would be more at home with the dirtiest, the poorest, and the most humble. He would be a Friend of sinners and ultimately die for each and every one.

I imagine that the stars did shine brighter that night.  The moon was probably beautiful and full and love was everywhere…His glory would light up our lives for thousands of years to come.   No darkness is too dark, and no sin too big, and no life too lost for Him to redeem.  He is the only Gift we will ever need!

So as you light your home and put out your nativity scene, I hope that your thoughts go back to that perfect night when the only perfect Child was born.  The night when the angels sang and the shepherds sought Him and Love came down to save us all.  This is the reason we celebrate today, 2000 Decembers later.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, You are Awesome, Sovereign, Holy, and Mighty.  You are just, full of grace and mercy!  We bow down to You today and thank You for the perfect Gift that You sent to us, all those years ago.  You gave us Your only Son, a Savior to take all of our sins away.  How can we ever thank You enough?  Help us, oh God, to remember what this season is really about. And to not get so wrapped up in the commercial side of it but to place our thoughts on You.  To be with those who are hurting and lonely and surround them with Your love.  May we be Your hands and feet, and spread hope to those who need it.  We love You and we praise You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

When You Give Thanks For Everything

encouragementbloggraphicromans15And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He said,
‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves.
For I tell you that from now on I will not drink
of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.’
And He took bread, and when He had given thanks,
He broke it and gave it to them, saying,
‘This is my Body, which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.’
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying,
‘This cup that is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.’
Luke 22:17–20 [also Matthew 26:27 and Mark 14:23]

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And so following Jesus’s pattern, Paul in Acts 27:35 “…took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it…”  ‘Tis the season….What would your answer be?  Yes, this is the beginning of the holiday season.  A time of joy and excitement.  Families gather together at the same table, all over the country and feast on turkey and dressing and sweet potatoes and so much more.  We will eat until we can’t eat anymore…and then some.  The television will be set to football (and probably more than one game at a time will be watched). But I wonder, will we remember the ‘why’ of all of this?

Will we remember that if Jesus had not come to this earth, to walk as a man and perform miracle after miracle, healing the sick and restoring sight to the blind, that we wouldn’t have the kind of life that we have now?  I imagine that joy and peace wouldn’t be present either…but I don’t even want to imagine it, do you?

In the verse above, Jesus gave thanks, before He gave them the bread and wine, at the Last Supper.  Shouldn’t we do the same?  Even if your life is broken, like the bread, giving thanks can change it all.  It might not change the actual circumstance, but it will open up your heart to joy and gratitude.

  • If you don’t get that promotion or that dream job, you can still give thanks…God has something totally for you and better than you could ever imagine.
  • If you don’t marry that man (or woman) that you just know is for you, thank God!  He has someone for you that is so amazing and you may not even know him (or her) yet.
  • If you are at the end of your rope and nothing in your life looks like you imagined or hoped for. In fact, it is not even close to what all your friends around you have…I pray that you give thanks.

Your life is so important to God and He wants so much for you…giving thanks opens doors that you never knew would open.  You are trusting your Father to do what He does best’—and thanking Him is trusting Him.  I heard this saying this week:

Worry and worship cannot exist together
…I choose worship!  What about you?

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Do you know Jesus? If you haven’t asked Him to be your Lord and Savior, then I urge you to pray this prayer with me:

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner.  I need forgiveness.  I believe that You sent Your Son Jesus, to die on the Cross, to save me from my sins.  I ask that You come into my life and live and be my Lord.  Thank You for forgiving me. Help me to keep walking with You and trusting You. Help me to live a life close to You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Same Power

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjvI can see
Waters raging at my feet
I can feel
The breath of those surrounding me
I can hear
The sound of nations rising up
We will not be overtaken
We will not be overcome

I can walk
Down this dark and painful road
I can face
Every fear of the unknown
I can hear
All God’s children singing out
We will not be overtaken
We will not be overcome

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
The same power that commands the dead to wake
Lives in us, lives in us
The same power that moves mountains when He speaks
The same power that can calm a raging sea
Lives in us, lives in us
He lives in us, lives in us

We have hope
That His promises are true
In His strength
There is nothing we can’t do
Yes, we know
There are greater things in store
We will not be overtaken
We will not be overcome

Greater is He that is living in me
He’s conquered our enemy
No power of darkness
No weapon prevails
We stand here in victory

 Jeremy Camp
written along with Jason Ingram

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But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you,
He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead
will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:11

When asked if I would rather have Jesus walking this earth (like in Biblical times) or have the Holy Spirit, I really have to think.  Then I am reminded that Jesus could not be everywhere in body but the Holy Spirit can be with all of us, everywhere, all over the world.  How amazing is that?!

Have you ever thought about what Jesus said when He left here to go to Heaven to be with God?  He said that He was leaving a gift that was far greater than He.  We—that means you and me—have the same power in us that made Jesus rise again from the grave.  We have the same power that rose Lazarus from the dead.  And we have the same power that healed the leaper, made the blind to see, and fed the 5000.  So what are we to do with this power today?

  • We are to go out into this hard world and shine His light to those who are struggling.
  • We are to ask the Holy Spirit to give us the words to share with that one person that needs Jesus and meets Him for the first time.
  • We are to let the Holy Spirit be our Comforter in times of sorrow and share our comfort with others.

Oh, friend, the Holy Spirit is real and full of love for you and me!  So today, let’s praise Him for this gift and let us allow Him to work in us so that we can be all that we were created to be.

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Let us pray: Dear God, thank You so much for the gift of the Holy Spirit . And for the power that comes from allowing Him to work through us and in us. How amazing is it that when we accept Jesus in our hearts that the Holy Spirit is given to us.  Free!  Help us to use His power for Your good.  We love You and we praise You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I Will Not Fear

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there is no fruit on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will triumph in Yahweh;
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!
Yahweh my Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like those of a deer
and enables me to walk on mountain heights!
Habakkuk 3:17-19

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I am claiming this verse today…and I am placing my needs before His feet. Fig trees and olive crops are symbols for the things of this world that we may lack at this very moment.  August is always hard here.  School is looming and there are always needs: clothes, shoes, school supplies (and now with one in college), the list goes on…and on. But isn’t God so much bigger than any of these?  {yes!}

It’s funny how God leads me to certain verses on the days that i write…and it always is something that I need to hear and to pass along to you.  What are you believing God for today?  Are you struggling to believe at all?  Sometimes things feel so desperate (and, truly, they may be).  There may be no food in the pantry and no money to go purchase any.  Or a really big bill is due and you have absolutely no idea how you are going to pay it.  Or an illness and a bad report has you feeling like there is no hope at all.

But the good news is this: There is always hope in Jesus!

I know that my sound cliche but it is so true! If you put all your hope and all your efforts into just praising Him today—though the problems may still be there—there will be joy in place of sorrow!  Hope will replace hopelessness and praise will replace pity.  We may not get to choose the circumstances in our lives but we can choose how we react to them.  (I am preaching to myself!)

Fear and worry are stealers, and they come straight from the enemy who wants nothing more than to rob you of all you have.  He especially wants to take your hope away.  But if we let him have that…we have let him win.  The enemy doesn’t go after your salvation.  He can’t have it!  But he can take the peace that comes with the salvation that Jesus gave His own life for us to have.  One of my favorite passages is Psalms 23.  It was one of the first ones that I learned in elementary school and it is one that has gotten me through a lot of hard times.  In verse 4 is says:

Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.
Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.

Today, as you read this verse, fill in the blank with your own valley.

Even when I walk through ________,
I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. 

And know beyond a shadow of a doubt that whatever it is you wrote down, that your God is able to do this and so much more.  Claim it with me today…and enjoy the sunshine today!

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Let us pray: Dear God, You are so full of love for us and Your grace is sufficient for every minute that we breathe.  You are the same always; You never change.  Thank You for Your provision and Your hand in everything that we go through.  You waste nothing, oh Lord!  I pray today for all these friends reading this today, that You would give them back their joy and peace, oh God!  And that nothing that the enemy throws at them can take away the hope that they have in You.  Silence his lies today and everyday.  Remind them that feelings are feelings but that Your Word is truth.  Lead them to the truth today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

It Is Well With My Soul

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When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot You have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come
Let this blessed assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul

It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul 

Jars of Clay
Original writers: Horatio Spafford, Phillip Bliss
This version: Chris Rice, Stephen Mason, Matt Odmark, Jim Cooper, Dan Haseltine, Travis Cottrell, James Brickman, Charlie Lowell

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Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.
Psalm 116:7

I can say that this is one of those hymns that the Holy Spirit brings to mind on many occasions and especially on the really hard days.  The Lord speaks to us through music, I know for sure.  Some days (even before the first cup of coffee) are already setting me up for failure.  I think in my head that there are words that I shouldn’t have said yesterday and I went to bed without an “I’m sorry”…and there will be words today that I will wish I could take back.  There are cluttered cabinets that need to be cleaned out, kind of like the cluttered  mind that needs to hear Jesus.  I am a frustrated perfectionist and I often compare my lack to others’ abundance.  But the Holy Spirit whispers early…in the form of a hymn…’it is well with my soul‘.  And it is….

In the 1800’s, a man named Horatio Spafford had lived through what he thought were the hardest trials of his life—his only son died and, shortly after, a horrible fire consumed all he had materially.  He recovered only to hit bottom two years later.  He put his wife and four daughters on a ship to England and he was to meet them soon.  Not long after they took off, the ship ran into another ship and the children sunk to the bottom of the ocean.  He received a telegram four days after from his wife that said, “Saved alone.”  He got on a ship to meet her and, as he went over the location where his daughters had drowned, these words came to his mind: “When sorrows like sea billows roll…” and there was birthed one of the greatest hymns of all times.

Yes, he lost his children (something I cannot even imagine).  But in all that tragedy, his God was enough.  The fact that Jesus loved him was all he needed to make it through.  He knew that Jesus was coming again to take him and his wife to meet his girls.  So here on earth, he would choose to live his days in praise.

What about you today?  Are you experiencing loss?  It may not be as severe as the loss of a child (or four children) but it may hurt still.  I pray today that you and I are able to look at all the chaos around us and still have peace and be able to say without hesitation that “It is well with my soul.”

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Let us pray: Dear Lord, You are awesome and mighty, You bring me to my knees in worship and praise!  You are Holy and You are worthy of all that we are and all that we have and we love You.  Thank You for the peace that comes from just knowing You and knowing that Jesus took away all our sins so that we are looked at as pure in Your eyes.  Oh Lord, I pray for all the broken hearts today.  I pray that You can mend them and put a new song in each one; one that says “It is well with my soul”…no matter what.  Your love is enough.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Here’s My Heart, Lord

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Here’s my heart, Lord
Here’s my heart, Lord
Here’s my heart, Lord
Speak what is true

‘Cause I am found, I am Yours
I am loved, I’m made pure
I have life, I can breathe
I am healed, I am free

‘Cause You are strong, You are sure
You are life, You endure
You are good, always true
You are light breaking through

Here’s my life, Lord
Here’s my life, Lord
Here’s my life, Lord

Speak what is true

You are more than enough
You are here, You are love
You are hope, You are grace
You’re all I have, You’re everything

David Crowder Band
written by Jason Ingram, Chris Tomlin, Louis Giglio

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This song says the same verses over and over again…as if the writer knows that I am a slow learner.  Today, as I was putting the last of the dishes away, I turned on my playlist and this is what played.  Oh, how I love when God reminds me in subtle yet profound ways that I need to surrender it all to Him.

See, lately, I have allowed my brain to be hijacked with worry.  The enemy knows that if we are preoccupied with other things that we will not be quiet enough to hear our Lord speak to us.  So I’m confessing that I need a time out.

Proverbs 23:26 says,”My son {daughter}, give Me your heart and let your eyes keep to My ways.” So when we are frustrated and we let the things of this world control us, we are not completely giving Him our whole heart.  I’m not saying that we aren’t saved or that we don’t love Him; I am saying that we are seeking other things above Him.  The worry over finances…the rifts in your marriage…the bitterness and resentment you’re holding onto against that one friend….  These are all symptoms of a bigger issue—we are putting Him after _____ (you fill in the blank).

At our small group study that I lead, we were asked a question that I would love for you think about and answer to yourself:

What keeps you up at night?”

If your answer is anything but ‘God ‘, then it is time for a change.
And if you don’t know the answer…ask God.

Psalm 26:2 says, “Test me O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.”  What I do know is this: It’s time to seek Him first and all the other problems will just fade.  Repeat the words with me: “Here’s my heart Lord, speak what is true. Here’s my life Lord, speak what is true.”  And then really let the words sink in…”I am found, I am loved, I’m made pure, I am healed“!

Oh friend, He is so good.  He is so patient with us when we are slow learners.  He proves Himself over and over, and yet we still wake up with that elephant on our chest.  He never gets tired of loving you.  He never stops working in your life.  If you are reading this today, I pray that this speaks to you right where you are…know that God will meet you there.

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Pray with me: Dear God, You are so awesome and so full of love.  You are so patient with us when we doubt.  Thank You for Your healing hand and for Your constant provision.  Thank You that no matter how many times we fall down, You never tire of picking us up and putting our feet on a firm place.  Lord, with You, we will not be shaken no matter what comes our way.  I pray that we will seek You above it all.  We love You.  We praise You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

In You Alone

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Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my Rock and my Salvation,
my Fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my Refuge, a Rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our Refuge.
Psalms 62:5-8

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I read David’s writings daily.  Who can’t relate to an awesome king that loved God…yet was extremely human and sought forgiveness when he was wrong.  There is so much hope and healing in his writings and I find myself praying his words back to God.

David was a spiritual man and an extremely emotional one, too.  Many times he wrote these psalms out of his own feelings—feelings of amazement, fear, love, anger, and pain.  And this particular psalm was written in a time of disappointment, a time that David had been let down over and over.  If you have lived into adulthood, then you know how this feels.  It’s even harder when the person who disappoints you is a man or woman of God.  It can shake us off our firm foundation if we let it.

The person in David’s life was Saul and David’s eyes were opened as a teenager.  He couldn’t believe that someone could really go that far off the right path and let sin take him down so far.  Later in his life, David himself would slip, too.  No one is immune to sin and no one will ever walk a perfect journey here on earth—except Jesus!  Pastors will mess up. Friends in the congregation may stop coming. But good can from this…if we don’t let bitterness and resentment in.

The theme in this psalm of David’s is God alone.  He didn’t let bitterness come from his shattered expectations.  Instead he found hope in his Father.  He realized that the only constant on this earth is God.  Good people will hurt you and they will slip and sometimes they may never come back into God’s house again.  This shouldn’t sway you either way; and, if it does, it is time to do some reconnecting with God the Father.

Read verses 1-2 and 5-8 out loud.  Put the emphasis on every repetition of the words ‘God, He, and Him’.  Can you hear it?  See, because David poured out his heart to God, and he didn’t let it fester and build up, bitterness couldn’t take hold.  He had a hope and a rest in God.  In Hebrew, the word ‘hope’ means “a cord or an attachment.”  Everyone is holding onto something, or someone, for security.  Sometimes we hold onto a knotted rope and depend on whatever is on the other end to keep us from falling.

Picture that rope in your hands…
close your eyes and look up the rope…
who do you see on the other end?

Unless God is at the end of your rope, you’re about to fall…and you’re hanging on by a thread.  God alone can hold us up.  So the next time you allow someone to disappoint you, whisper two words to yourself—“God alone“.  When you decide to let that person off the hook and let God alone hold the other end of your rope, you will attach yourself to God’s strong arm.  He can hold you up over the deep and strong waves.  You will be secure enough to let one arm go free to help the person that disappointed you along the way, until he or she gets back on their feet.  And you will be able to say that it was worth all of the hard!  For you will really have found that your strength can only be found in Him.

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Let us pray:  Dear God, You are so great and You are fully able to do anything we ask or think according to Your will.  I am in awe of You.  Thank You for loving us so much and for sending Jesus to die in our place.  Oh God, forgive us when we place people above You and expect them to fulfill us…for only You can satisfy our every need.  Let us never forget that only You are perfect.  Help us to keep our eyes on You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

That Was Then, This Is Now

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

We used to hide from the light
We made friends with the night
We were headed the wrong way on a one way track
Going nowhere fast

We got used to the dark
We thought this is who we are
And we figured that we were just too far gone
But we were wrong

‘Cause love came running like a river
And we got washed in the water
Then He said you’re forgiven
Your sins are gone

That was then, this is now
You’re bought by the blood,
Saved by the Son the saints all sing about

That was lost, this is found
And it’s time to say goodbye to the old you now

So go ahead, put the past in the past
Box it up like an old photograph
You don’t have to go back
‘Cause that was then and this is now

We’ve been remade by grace
We’ve all got new names
And nothing we do could ever change
What He did that day

If we turn and confess every unrighteousness
He is faithful and just to forgive
Oh, so turn and confess every wrong and regret
And see what it means to live

‘Cause that was then and this is now

 Josh Wilson, singer/songwriter

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There was a time in my life that I was in the dark for so long that my eyes adjusted to it, and I could see.  Chaos was normal and I definitely made wrong choice after wrong choice.  I accepted my life the way it had become and I even labeled myself as a loser.  The crazy thing was that I had lived more of my life in His light than in the dark; yet the dark became normal.  But one day He became so much brighter than my present darkness and I decided that I wanted to be out there.  His love for me was still so big…so much bigger than my circumstances.  And I surrendered it all that day.

And (as the song says), we have to take the past and ‘box it up‘. There will be times that the memories of those wrong choices still come flooding in.  You will have to make a decision to surrender it again and remember that Jesus came to forgive you.  Everything you have ever done or will ever do was left at the Cross with Jesus.  You are now covered in His blood and you’ve been made new.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ
has become a new person.
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

So take heart!
Claim the grace that is so free for you!
Know that He loves you beyond measure!
You are never too far gone to turn back now!
He is there with open arms…
Today can be the day that your life will change forever!

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Let us pray: Dear God, You are so amazing!  Thank You for being so full of grace and mercy.  You know the choices we are going to make before we even make them yet You still love us so much.  Even when we sit in darkness, You are so close that all we have to do is move toward You.  Thank You for Your light that shines into our pits.  Oh Lord, we are so grateful for Your Son, Jesus, Who died for our sins so that we will live with You forever one day.  We love You!  In Jesus’ name, amen.