February 22, 2018

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

~  Written by Annie and Kelly McRae / Sung by The McRaes  ~

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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 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 of God…

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, myself…well, I get weary; and I am not strong at times. But my God…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!

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 you.

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. 

❥ He knows your every step, every move, every tear, all your ways.

❥ He knows you, inside and out, before and behind, sitting down and rising up.

❥ He knows your frame, your thoughts, your words, all your ways, all your days.

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

How 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

Written and sung by Kristyn Getty 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

Child Forgiven

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

Performed here by 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

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…

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

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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 will EVER 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 [engraved, inscribed (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!”

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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!!!

I Never Lost My Praise

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I lost some good friends along life’s way
Some loved ones departed in heaven to stay but
Thank God I didn’t lose everything
I’ve lost faith in people who said they care,
The time of my crisis they were never there
But in my disappointment in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed

I never lost my hope, I never lost my joy,
I never lost my faith but, most of all, I never lost my praise

I’ve let some blessings slip away, and I lost my focus
And went astray, but thank God I didn’t lose everything
I’ve lost possessions that were so dear
And I lost some battles by walking in fear
But in the midst of my struggle, in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed

I never lost my hope, I never lost my joy,
I never lost my faith but, most of all, I never lost my praise
Praise, praise, praise, praise…most of all, I never lost my praise

My praise, still here, my praise still here

Hallelujah! My praise is still here

Songwriter – Kurt Carr/ Performed by the Charlotte Central Church of God Choir

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Oh, can you picture Job singing this song?  He lost loved ones and possessions.  He  lost faith in people who said they care and in his time of crisis they were never there.   But one thing never wavered…one thing never changed—he never lost his hope…he never lost his faith…he never lost his praise.

There aren’t too many records throughout the Scriptures which depict someone more deeply grieved and in mourning than the story of Job “…a blameless and upright man, fears God and turns away from evil.”  Right off in chapter one, we read of the horrific loss that Job experienced.   Job was a man blessed by his God with “seven sons and three daughters; 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very great body of servants.” The Scriptures tell us that “this man was the greatest of all the men of the East.” But, as we know, Satan purposed to take all that Job had in order to tempt him (verse 11) to turn away from and curse his God.  In one day, within a very short period of time, Job learns that all his flocks, practically every one of his servants, and each of his children has been taken from him.  However, Satan’s purpose was foiled because, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God” (verse 22).  Job kept his heart of worship and praise; his response to all this?

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.
Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Job 1:20-22

He never lost his praise.

As the woman who sings this song shared with us, in her time of sadness and loss, God taught her about the ‘sacrifice of praise.’   (Listen to her heart starting at :18 to 1:19.)

She never lost her praise.

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God
a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips
that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.
Hebrews 13:15

Probably each of us has offered a ‘sacrifice of praise’ at least once or twice in our lives…yes?  However, I am confronted by the higher standard that Hebrews 13:15 states: “let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise….”  Other versions of this verse use the terms, ‘continually…always.’  That doesn’t leave much room for wiggling out of obedience, now does it?

We are to constantly {always, continually, at all times} give to God our praise as a sacrifice—whether our circumstances are happy and joy-filled or not.  Even in those times where it looks like there is nothing left, we are to acknowledge all He has done, is doing, and will do to take care of us.  And when we struggle to maintain our joy and peace we can still praise God for Who He is…He never changes (Malachi 3:6).  He never leaves us nor forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:8).  He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)…which nothing can separate us from (Romans 8:38-39).  We should always praise Him for those things…and much, much, much more!  I believe that then we, too, will sing…

I never lost my praise.

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

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

~  Written by Annie and Kelly McRae / Sung by The McRaes  ~

* ~ ♥ ~ ✞ ~ ♥ ~ *

These verses seem 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 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 of God…

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, myself…well, I get weary; and I am not strong at times. But my God…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!

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 you.  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. 

Oh, 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, yeah
And it lifts me up to glory

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

Lyrics: Samuel Francis / Music: Thomas Williams /
Performed and sung by Selah / and danced by Praise in Motion

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Such a stirring, convicting song!  These lyrics remind us of the 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, 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 comprehend this deep, deep love!

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.  Truly, I believe, it will take us having the new minds and new bodies which are promised to those that are His when He returns to fully comprehend.  Perhaps it is just too much for us to completely understand His deep, deep love at this point.

…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

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

CHRISTLife — ThirtyFour: Loved

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

The KJV substitutes “Herein is love” for the phrase “In this is love” at the beginning of this verse.  Isn’t that a tremendous interpretation?—‘Herein, or, in here’ is love…truly nowhere else!  In God is love…He is love!

In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself,
according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace….
Ephesians 1:5 and 6

“God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures.  It is true whether we believe it or not.  Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it.  It originates in the very nature of God, who IS Love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.” ~ Jerry Bridges

The love of God for you (me, too!) is a fact…an absolute…a given—the Truth.  I can doubt it, if I choose.  I can worry about losing it, if I want.  I can wonder how God could possibly love me, if I want.

OR, I can believe it.

This God, the Great I AM, my ABBA Father, communicates all throughout the Scriptures of His love—

  • steadfast (Psalm 103:11)
  • unfailing (Psalm 147:11)
  • inseparable (Romans 8:38 and 39)
  • faithful (Exodus 34:6)
  • everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • unconditional (Luke 15)
  • compassionate (Psalm 86:15)
  • merciful (Titus 3:4 and 5)
  • enduring (Psalm 106:1)
  • and more; so much more!

Confess these Truths to yourself, my friend…encourage and strengthen yourself in the Truth of God’s love for you!  Would you, please, do this…Look at yourself in the mirror and remind yourself of the Truth, “God loves me!  He chose me, actually picked me out for Himself to have a relationship with Him.”  (Did you say it out loud?) Read through that list of truths that tell of the love of God…and speak them over yourself.  You are loved by God!

Perhaps you can sing along with the Psalmist David,

…in the morning I will sing of Your love;
for You are my Fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
O my strength, I sing praise to You;
You, O God, are my Fortress, my loving God.
Psalms 59:16 and 17

Perhaps you can sing this beautiful song, too; will you…would you try?   ‘Cause He loves us..oh, how He loves us!!!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * 

And NOW here is some encouragement from Kim
along with her beautiful inner identity album page for this week!

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God’s redeeming love is such a powerful life-changing love…unlike ANYTHING I have ever experienced in my life!  He loved me out of my darkness and redeemed my life.  As Isaiah 54:8 states, “With everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.”  Thank You, Father, for loving me that much….

CHRISTLife — Seventeen: Desired

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We have been called and chosen.  Why?  Just one reason—Almighty God desired to love 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 become 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 worryings and complainings and the very difficult times he had, I believe he 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 prophets declaring to the people He was drawing to Himself of His love, grace, and mercy and His desire for mankind.

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 and whoredom 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.

Now here is 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 8:38-39

Such love is beyond our ability to grasp with our minds, but it is not beyond our ability to experience with our hearts. Only through the power and influence of the Holy Spirit are we able to do so!

…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. BUT, because God tells us so through Paul’s encouragement to the church at Ephesus, we KNOW it to be true! And this is the awesome Truth of God’s desiring us—it is not based on you or me but completely on Him!

May I share something with you?  At the very beginning of today’s chapter, Mrs. Myers asks her readers to “Allow the Lord to fully convince your heart that He desires you.”  I had an extremely difficult time taking that step.  You see, on any given day, I have not been convinced that Almighty God desired me.  Let alone ask Him to ‘fully convince my heart’ of that fact.  But…today I did ask.  And He is doing so!!!  Oh, I have a <prior> lifetime of being fully convinced that perhaps God might desire everyone else but not me.  But that is not too much for our Father to deal with!  For little me, Coleen Ann Brigit McElroy Hayden, “I am <becoming> 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 <me> from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus <my> Lord.”  How about you?

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you   (Don’t ever forget that!)

CHRISTLife – Four: Inner Identity Album

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Don’t you just love looking at photographs?  Me, too.  And, with all the advances in current technology, almost everyone can snap away on a whim!  So many of us enjoy capturing both the big events in our lives as well as every day occurrences with photographs. A photograph is an image.

im·age   /’imij/  n.

1. A reproduction of the form of a person or object.
2. Physics – An optically formed duplicate, counterpart, or other representative reproduction of an object, especially an optical reproduction formed by a lens or mirror.
3. One that closely or exactly resembles another; a double. He is the image of his uncle.
4. Semblance or likeness. We are made in the image of God.
5. A personification of something specified: That child is the image of good health.
6. A mental picture of something not real or present.
7. A vivid description or representation.

The way in which we ‘picture’ ourselves in our own minds and hearts is our ‘image’ of ourselves.  And we keep these images of ourselves in an inner identity album. Our author, Mrs. Ruth Myers, uses this terminology to describe a “sort of mental photo album that strongly influences our sense of identity” (page 19). In other words, our inner identity album is like a scrapbook in our mind of how we picture ourselves—both negatively and positively.  The negative pictures show how our thinking about ourselves has been influenced by the world, other people’s words, difficult situations. And the positive pictures are reflecting the Truth from the Scriptures—the way in which God sees us.   These images portray what we think about ourselves in both of these ways—influenced by lies as well as the Truth.  They are the photographs in our inner identity album.   As we allow God to heal us and to change our image from negative to positive, we are ‘posting’ different pictures in our inner identity album.  These are the pictures that show ‘I AM who God says I am!’

Such as the Truth that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.

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 8:38-39

When we hold that Truth in our minds and believe it with our hearts, then our image of ourselves is one of being beloved by God, always and forever, and nothing can ever change that!

Or the truth that God is always with us.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

And the Truth that we are provided for by God.

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink,
nor about your body, what you will put on.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap
nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:25-26

We think on these things and they become the image that we have of ourselves…the Truth that is contained in our inner identity album.

As we continue along in this study, we are endeavoring to replace the lies with Truth. We will be changing our image and revealing that I AM who God says I am!

So my friend Kim and I thought it would be a grand idea to actually create an inner identity album as we go through our study of CHRISTLife.  Want to join us?  Each Tuesday and Thursday, we will have a little project—scrapbooking, journaling, etc.—that we can each do.  And on Thursdays everyone can post a picture of what they are currently working on—their inner identity album.  Today, Kim is introducing us to this idea with a simple, beautiful page that depicts that she IS who God says she is!

And now, from Kim:

CLiiakim

This scrapbook page is a reflection of my transformation. I have gone from the pit of despair, and the lies I once believed, to knowing and believing what God says about me—the truth.   Praise the Lord!!!

  • I am His masterpiece
  • I am redeemed from my past; I no longer have to live there
  • My past does not define my future
  •  I have been redeemed
  • There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus
  • I can now leave the past in the past and move forward in my redeemed life

This page was made from items I had around the house—old magazines, a few scrapbook pages, some stickers and Modge Podge.   I encourage you to make your page(s) personal to your own journey with God.   Let them show what He reveals to you personally.   Through this Bible study and the CHRISTLife book, we are being  transformed into the women that God says we are. Each one will be unique and different and will reflect us personally as God meets each one of us right  where we are at.

  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~

Dear Lord, we are so thankful for the truth that we ARE who You say we are!  You know that in certain areas we struggle to maintain having that same vision as You do…please help us!  Help us to identify the lies and to refute them with the accuracy of the Truth of Your Word.  Truly it really only matters what You think…we so want to change our thoughts to being aligned with Your thoughts.  We need Your help, Father…and we are assured that we have it!  Thank You!  Praying and asking these things in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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