October 19, 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.

Finish What He Started

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

You take two steps forward and three steps back
On a journey of a thousand miles
And you cry and you pray
But you know at this pace you never will arrive
Well I know in your heart you believed from the start

God had a purpose He knit you together for
But life has pulled at the seams
And you’re unraveling
And you can’t hold it together anymore

But God will, He will finish what He started
No thread will be left unwoven
Nothing will be left undone
Every plan and every purpose
That He has will be accomplished
And God will finish what He’s begun

And it may feel like 40 long days in a hard driving rain
Or 40 years in a dry desert sand
But when He’s finished we will see
A beautiful tapestry
And know that nothing has been wasted in the end

And we’ll stand as the ones completed
By the miracle of His love
We’ll sing of His goodness and sing to His glory
As we tell the story of how

God has, He has finished what He’s started
Not a thread will be unwoven
And nothing will be left undone
Every plan and every purpose
That He has will be accomplished
And God will finish what He’s begun
I know that God will finish what He’s begun

Singer/Songwriter ~ Steven Curtis Chapman

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And I am certain that God,
Who began the good work within you,
will continue His work until it is finally finished
on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Philippians 1:6

How many times do you say to yourself: “One day I will be a better ____.” or “One day I will finish____.”?  How hard we can be on ourselves.  Yet God is so very patient and He sees us, His masterpiece, as beautiful.  But He is far from finished with us.  And as the song says, God will finish what He has begun!

There are days that I feel like I have got it all together.  I have done my quiet time and used kind words with my children and put my husband’s needs before my own.  Then there are the days that my words crush spirits and I haven’t paused long enough to even say,”Dear God…” and the last thing I want to do is praise Him.  I am just being honest.  Have you had those days?  The truth is that we will take steps forward and steps backwards. And it is all okay because Jesus paid the price and so there is grace.

From the time that you entered this world, God has been sewing a beautiful tapestry of your life.  And all the pieces will one day fit all together and you will see the big picture. You will know the whys and hows of His beautiful plan.  But until then, we keep trusting and praying and worshipping His Holy name.  And we keep believing that, one day, He will be finished and He will say…”well done.”   It will all be so worth it!

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Let us pray: Dear God, You are so loving and merciful.  You are our Provider and Creator.  Thank You so much for planning this life out for us.  Your patience and grace meets us right where we are.  I love that You don’t expect us to be perfect ever. Jesus did that for us.  And until the day that He comes for us, You will still be working in us and through us; we are so grateful!  Progress, not perfection!  We love You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Glorious Unfolding

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Lay your head down tonight
Take a rest from the fight
Don’t try to figure it out
Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
‘Cause I know this is not
Anything like you thought
The story of your life was gonna be
And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
But it’s just not true
There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
Just you wait and SEE and you will be amazed
You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
So hold on to every promise God has made to us
And watch this glorious unfolding

God’s plan from the start
For this world and your heart
Has been to show His glory and His grace
Forever revealing the depth and the beauty of
His unfailing Love
And the story has only begun

We were made to run through fields of forever
Singing songs to our Savior and King
So let us remember this life we’re living
Is just the beginning of the beginning

Of this glorious unfolding
We will watch and SEE and we will be amazed
If we just keep on believing the story is so far from over
And hold on to every promise God has made to us
We’ll SEE the glorious unfolding

Just watch and SEE (unfolding)
This is just the beginning of the beginning (unfolding)

Singer/Songwriter – Steven Curtis Chapman

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I need a rest tonight for sure and all the things going on in my life that I wish I could just skip.  Anyone with me?  As Christians and children of God, we aren’t immune from hard things.  But the neat thing is that God is in the middle of it all and His plan is perfect.  We just have to walk through with faith, knowing that it is all for His glory and all for our good.  The difference in the valleys now is I know He is with me and His grace is sufficient for everything in my life.  I’m at peace.

Steven Curtis Chapman wrote this song about life and how hard it can be.  But to have faith through it all that God is in control.  Sometimes we have an idea of what we think our life is going to be like, and sometimes it does feel like it is closing in on you but really it’s just the beginning.  God is writing your story and it is perfect.  We have to believe that what God has promised in His Word will come true and we will SEE one day that it was just the beginning.  And we will be amazed, I believe it and I believe in Him.

We were made for so much more than this world.  We are made to praise Him, and sing songs to Him, and just talk to Him. Isn’t it amazing that we don’t have to worry and stress about what will happen next because He already knows and He has got this under control.  And don’t forget that He loves you so much.  Just hang on for the “Glorious Unfolding.”

Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being constant and in control. Help us to rest in You and have faith that, no matter what we are going through right now, You are still writing our story.  And when we have doubts, lead us to Your Word for encouragement and truth.  We love You and we praise You for planning our lives before we were ever born.  One day we will see all this was for something, and for Your glory.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

Dive

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

The long awaited rains
Have fallen hard upon the thirsty ground
And carved their way to where
The wild and rushing river can be found
And like the rain
I have been carried here to where the river flows, yeah
My heart is racing and my knees are weak
As I walk to the edge
I know there is no turning back
Once my feet have left the ledge
And in the rush I hear a voice
That’s telling me it’s time to take the leap of faith
So here I go

I’m diving in, I’m going deep, in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush, tossed in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river’s deep, the river’s wide, the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim, I’m diving in (I’m diving in…)

There is a supernatural power
In this mighty river’s flow
It can bring the dead to life
And it can fill an empty soul
And give a heart the only thing
Worth living and worth dying for, yeah
But we will never know the awesome power
Of the grace of God
Until we let ourselves get swept away
Into this holy flood
So if you’ll take my hand
We’ll close our eyes and count to three
And take the leap of faith
Come on let’s go

I’m diving in, I’m going deep, in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush, tossed in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river’s deep, the river’s wide, the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim, I’m diving in, yeah
I’m diving in, I’m diving in, yeah
I’m diving in, yeah, here I go
Come on let’s go

 Singer/Songwriter: Steven Curtis Chapman

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What does it mean to take a leap of faith?  It means to dive in completely…to trust God with everything and hold nothing back.  No borders.  No fear.  Just complete and total faith in Him.  Wherever He calls you.  Knowing His plans for you are good as Jeremiah 29:11 states.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

This excerpt from the devotional section of CBN.com sums it up so beautifully.

“The Bible says, in James 2:26, that faith without works is dead. I have learned that faith with works (action) is alive. Faith without works (action) can become an unfulfilled fantasy. For if I have faith that God is leading me, but I do not follow or act on it, then faith turns to doubt and my inaction leads to death; the death of my faith and the death of my dream. This is a horrible state in which to exist.

Unfulfilled faith creeps into one’s life like oil into water. Just as oil pollutes, leaving a nasty film which ruins the purity of the water – so doubt, solidified by inaction, covers the purity of faith; rendering it polluted, unfit, and unusable. Faith activated by works (action) skims the doubt that covers the water of life, cleans it, and recovers the purity of the gift that obedience brings to fruition.

We must be doers of the word and not just hearers. It is so human to hear the word, rejoice in what we hear, and then…. ponder. Pondering plants seeds of doubt, which grows into the mighty tree of procrastination, that bears the poisonous leaves of inaction.”

www.cbn.com/spirituallife/Devotions/markland_leap

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Oh Father, may we choose to take that leap of faith and dive in fully and completely, trusting in You.  Knowing that there is supernatural power in the flow.  In over my head I want to go…in Jesus’ name…amen!!!

Something Beautiful

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I see you sitting over there with your head in your hands
And the mess life’s made of your best laid plans
You really want to shake your fist
But you don’t know who to blame
Well you can blame yourself or The Man upstairs
Or the guy on the screen who says he cares
But all the shame and the blame won’t change a thing
What’s done is done
But grace has just begun

And God’s says
I’m gonna turn it into something different
I’m gonna turn it into something good
I’m gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only I could
So put it all in the hands of the Father
Give it up, give it all over to
The only one who can turn it into
Something beautiful
Something really beautiful

We know the world got broke when it took the fall
And here we are living in the middle of it all
Longing, waiting for the day when everything’s restored
But the best of the beauty that we get to SEE
While we’re living down here in this “yet to be”
Is to watch God take the most broken things
And to hear Him say,
“When I get through, you’re gonna be amazed”

‘Cause I’m gonna turn it into something different
I’m gonna turn it into something good
I’m gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only I could
So put it all in the hands of the Father
Give it up, give it all over to
The only one who can turn it into

Something beautiful
Something beautiful
Something beautiful
Put all the pieces in His hands
And watch Him turn it into something beautiful

God’s gonna turn it into something different
He’s gonna turn it into something good
He’s gonna take all the broken pieces
And make something beautiful like only He could
So put it all in the hands of the Father
Give it up, give it all over to
The only one who can turn it into
Something beautiful
Something really beautiful
Something beautiful
Something really beautiful

~  Sing this song with me as our prayer and worship today.  ~

~  Singer/Songwriter: Steven Curtis Chapman  ~

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When life becomes hard, we  call out to God and trust in Him…or we turn our back on God.  Steven Curtis Chapman lost his daughter to an accident several years ago.  In working through his pain, God was able to give him this song. Steven was able to use this in his pain and grief,  and give that away to others who are hurting.

Something Beautiful reminds us that hard times come into our lives.  The way we walk through the trial determines how we come out on the other side of it.  If we walk through it with our eyes on God, then it will not be so hard.  That does not mean we will not walk through the emotions…we will.  That is all part of the process.  You see, we believers have a Hope.  We have a Hope to see our loved ones when we get to heaven.

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I pray this song blesses you as you listen to it.  I pray that you are able to heal in ways you never would have imagined.  I pray that you will seek Him for your healing.  God does not want you to stay in one place.  He wants you to go out and share your story.  And never being ashamed of your past.  Let your past go and share your story with others.  You never know what sharing your story will do for others.

Beauty Will Rise

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

It was the day the world went wrong
I screamed ’til my voice was gone
And watched through the tears as everything
Came crashing down
Slowly panic turns to pain
As we awake to what remains
And sift through the ashes that are left behind

But buried deep beneath
All our broken dreams
We have this hope:

Out of these ashes…beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of these ashes…beauty will rise
For we know, joy is coming in the morning
in the morning, beauty will rise

So take another breath for now,
And let the tears come washing down
And if you can’t believe I will believe for you

Cause I have seen
the signs of spring!
Just watch and see:

Out of these ashes…beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of these ashes…beauty will rise
For we know, joy is coming in the morning
In the morning

I can hear it in the distance
And it’s not too far away
It’s the music and the laughter
Of a wedding and a feast
I can almost feel the hand of God
Reaching for my face
To wipe the tears away, and say
“It’s time to make everything new”

“Make it all new”

This is our hope
This is the promise
This is our hope
This is the promise
That it would take our breath away
To see the beauty that’s been made
Out of the ashes
Out of the ashes
That it would take our breath away
To see the beauty that He’s made
Out of the ashes…
Out of the ashes…

Out of these ashes… beauty will rise
And we will dance among the ruins
We will see Him with our own eyes
Out of this darkness…new life will shine
And we’ll know the joy is coming in the morning
In the morning…beauty will rise

Oh, Beauty will rise
Oh, Beauty will rise
Oh, oh, oh, Beauty will rise
Oh, oh, oh, Beauty will rise
Oh, oh, oh, Beauty will rise

~  Steven Curtis Chapman, songwriter and singer  ~

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Steven Curtis Chapman is no stranger to tragedy.  Of all people, he knows ashes and he knows the beauty that God can make out of the ashes of tragedy and loss and suffering.  On May 21, 2008, Steven’s youngest daughter, Maria, was killed in their front yard, by a vehicle driven by their son. She was the youngest of the three girls the Chapmans had adopted from China; she was a vital part of the family, loved and adored by all.

In the days and week to come, Steven thought about leaving the music industry altogether.  Then God came to him, and inspired him to make music out of his pain.  That just maybe his mess that became his ministry would help others see that there is hope and healing in His name. And it became his mission to SEE God in the details of this.

Since Maria was from China, they traveled there and opened a home for special needs orphans called “Maria’s Big House of Hope” where children can live and be ministered to and loved.  Because of the tragedy of losing her, tens of thousands of children will be saved from life-threatening illnesses and have a place to call home, with loving nannies and nurses and doctors to care for them. Beauty from ashes, right?  And, while they were there, the whole family went to visit the site of that terrible earthquake of 2008, where over 70,000 people lost their lives. and left 5,000,000 homeless.  The Chapman family knew loss and they were able to relate to these people who had lost their sons and daughters, their mothers and fathers.  And the only comfort that they knew to share was God’s comfort through Scripture.  So they shared with the people of  China God’s unconditional love—that even in earthquakes, He never left them.

Through the ashes, like those left behind in the earthquake, beauty will rise.  New buildings are built; new homes, beautiful new streets and sidewalks.  And also new life with God.  After every tragedy, our relationship with God gets stronger because He is our Comforter and He never leaves us.  He can make beautiful out of ugly.  I know this and believe this…He is able!

Isn’t this like the Cross?  It was painful, hurtful, unfair and i’m sure the crown of thorns hurt and the day was dark.  But then Hope was raised from the dead, and new life…eternal life was birthed! And now we will live in eternity with Him forever!  Because Jesus died, we will live.  Because of the darkness, we see light and God will alway make something beautiful out of our ashes.

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Let us pray: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You so much for taking our tragedies and turning them into triumphs!  Out of the ugly messes we get ourselves in, Lord, You can use them to reach others for the Kingdom.  Sometimes our messes become our ministries ;and we are better equipped to help our fellow-travelers who may also be struggling. Beauty from Ashes…only You have the ability and only You know what we need.  In loss, You never leave us, and as we put one foot in front of the other, You fill us with Your strength and courage.  Thank You for not leaving us the way we are. And thank You for the ultimate beautiful Redeemer and Savior You sent to die in our place so that we can live a full life and live forever with You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.