Thank You Jesus for all the change You have wrought in my life. Thank You for taking a shy, lonely child and befriending her and helping her to live Your Way and to make Your choices. For helping me let go of fear and move out in bold service. Thank You for giving me Your peace and helping me lay down my burdens daily. Thank You for helping me be real with others. Thank You for sustaining me moment by moment in all areas of life. You bless me daily with Your Presence and timely Help for every situation You bring into my life. I am so glad You are my God, my Brother, my Friend. You have made ALL the difference in me. Without You, I am a hideous worm full of ugly thoughts and selfish ways. You are AMAZING!
Two more days until Christmas. Jesus' birthday! The day that changed the world and brought the possibility of salvation to anyone who will repent and believe and follow Him. What a privilege to have held THAT baby!
Nine more days until the end of 2009. Another year older. Another year closer to Heaven!
Are you another year closer to Heaven? I fervently hope so. Rejoice with me in remembering the Savior's birth!!! Contemplate anew what the Messiah has done for you.
Or do you still need to appropriate the Ultimate Christmas Gift of eternal life offered to you by Jesus through the sacrifice of His life on your behalf?
John 3:16-18 says: "For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the Name of God's One and Only Son."
And in John 14:6 Jesus says: "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
If you have any questions or want to talk about the Lord, don't wait! Find someone who knows Him and come to a decision about Him and His offer of salvation. Only you can appropriate this gift of grace. It will save your life for eternity. In this world, we will still have trouble, but with Jesus, we will always have help to get through it and we will have the hope of Heaven and no suffering for eternity. It will be the best decision you have made all year!
If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back---
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perchance, Faith's light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.
Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest's roots were torn;
That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the very air was still.
Oh, friend, call back, and tell me for I cannot see your face;
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race;
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.
But if you'll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you'll say He saw you through the night's sin-darkened sky---
If you have gone a little way ahead, oh, friend, call back---
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track.
This morning I was reading my portion of Ezekiel, chapters 20-21. I must confess that as I have been reading Ezekiel this past week or more I have been skimming it more than reading it. It clearly announces God's impending judgement of Israel over and over and I began to tune out. Not right, but truth.
Then this morning I asked the Lord to help me concentrate. (I know He has a message for me no matter where I'm reading if I will ask Him to reveal it.) So, I was reading along and BANG!
"I seriously considered inflicting My anger on them in force right there....Then I thought better of it. I acted out of Who I was, NOT by how I felt. And I acted in a way that would evoke honor, not blasphemy..." (20:8b-9, 13b-14, 21b-22 The Message)
("But for the sake of My Name..." NIV)
What a clear revelation of how God acts in the face of strong emotion!!! A hard act to follow, but isn't He always?
I have been learning a lot about how to walk by fact and God's Word, not by how I feel, over the past several years. So it was great to see that laid out. Plus that was attached to the idea of acting out of who I am in Christ, which is another thing I have been trying to grasp. So often I act out of how I feel which doesn't look a thing like who I am in Christ. In Ephesians 1, it says I am beloved, accepted, forgiven, adopted, favored, blessed, redeemed, holy, blameless, etc. If I can get to where THAT is my guideline for behavior instead of my feelings or my false self-concepts or others opinions, WOW!!!
These two ideas are further clarified in these verses by making me think of the end result of my actions/thoughts/words-- honor or blasphemy. That really stops me in my tracks! That my behavior has that kind of weighty outcome is constraining. It makes me want to be more intentional and less impulsive. It brings to mind 1Corinthians 10:31: "So whether you eat or drink or WHATEVER you do, do it all for the glory of God." (NIV)
In addition to being a great summary of what God has already been teaching me and making me want to be more intentional in my actions, these verses are such an AWESOME picture of parenting! I have felt just that way about my kids. "I seriously considered inflicting my anger on them in FORCE right there....Then I thought better of it." What a hoot! What a GREAT comfort to me to see that the LORD God Almighty Himself has felt that way too!!!
Other tidbits from Ezekiel 20:
In addition to repeating the verses above 3 times, the LORD:
Proclaims He is Sovereign 13 times.
Declares "I AM the LORD your God." 3 times.
And says, "Then you will KNOW that I AM the LORD." 5 times.
And finally, once, in response to the People wanting Him to let them go be like everyone else, He says, "What you have in mind will never happen. As surely as I live...I will rule over you." Even when they thought they knew what was best for them and were faithless, He was determined to be faithful, first in discipline, then in redemption.
Today I'm just grateful. Grateful for: a beautiful day, a wonderful husband, awesome children, amazing friends, my home, the privilege of homeschooling my children, the fact that I can wear sweats to 'work', creativity, music, my 5 senses, good food, coffee (yes, definitely, coffee), babies, laughter, modern conveniences, and most especially, for the Lord and His gift of salvation, free for the taking!
This has been a Philippians 4:13 kind of week. A week full of caring for a sick spouse and children. But the funny thing is, it is well with my soul. The Lord has been so gracious to give me His peace and help me lean on Him.
My usual M.O. is to be anxious and fret through these trying times. I am so thankful that, in recent months, He has been enabling me to lay my burdens down at His feet and to trust His sovereign decisions and care for me and my family. I am SO grateful for the change He has created in me in this area.
I am praying for my sick loved ones, of course. And I am praying for His continued strength. (Phil. 4:13) And I am praying He continues to enable me to trust Him. Because I KNOW that apart from Him, I can do NOTHING! (John 15:5) I know as soon as I begin to think I have anything to do with handling this well, I will fall flat on my face. It is God Who is sustaining me. (Isaiah 46:4)
I am reading The Autobiography of George Muller. I was reading about his primary motivation for beginning his orphanages. I was expecting that he did it because of the great need of the children or because of his great love for them. However, this was not the case.
His main motivation was to have a tangible vehicle by which to display God's faithfulness to answer prayer and to provide for His people. He had repeatedly tried to counsel believers to trust God's provision but could not seem to fully encourage them to do so. He knew that God's provision for the orphans would be a highly visible way of showing God's activity in behalf of His children who trust Him fully.
Though it seems you have every reason to worry, don't.
Though you sin all the time, if you belong to Jesus, He sees you as 'white as snow.'
And my favorite one is the result you get when you put John 15:5 and Philippians 4:13 together.
John 15:5 "Apart from Me, you can do nothing." Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me."
Colossians 1:29 goes right along with these. "...I labor, struggling with all HIS energy, which so powerfully works in me."
These verses are my constant companions, helping me through each day. As I walk knowing I am incapable of doing anything by myself, I lean on His power and ability to help me do all He wants me to do, trusting Him to strengthen me.
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." (Philippians 3:12)
Please grant that I shall Never waste my pain; for... To fail without learning, To fall without getting up, To sin without overcoming, To be hurt without forgiving, To be discontent without improving, To be crushed without becoming more caring, To suffer without growing more sensitive, Makes of suffering a senseless, futile exercise, A tragic loss And of pain, The greatest waste of all.
Not until each loom is silent, And the shuttles cease to fly, Will God unroll the pattern And explain the reason why The dark threads are as needful In the Weaver's skillful hand, As the threads of gold and silver For the pattern which He planned.
Romans 5:8 (NIV) says: "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
The Message puts it this way: "God put His love on the line for us by offering His Son in sacrificial death while we were no use whatever to Him."
Either way, WOW!!! And He doesn't stop there!
In Romans 8:32, He goes on to say: "He Who did not spare His Own Son, but gave Him up for us ALL---how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us ALL things."
NOW THAT'S GRACE!!!
In verse 34, it says that Christ (Who gave up His very life for us) is at the Father's right hand interceding for us, praying on behalf of all of us though we are the very ones that made His death necessary.
NOW THAT'S LOVE!!!
Why do we so often fight against Him Who loves us so much?
"I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels."
"The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."
I am heart glad that the LORD and I are mutually delighted with each other! Doesn't it just make you smile, knowing He is delighted with you?
Of course it is more about grace. Recognizing His grace in my life is just what this blog is about.
Romans 10:9-10 (Message) “This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what He did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not ‘doing’ anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting Him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being, you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: ‘God has set everything right between Him and me!’”
Now that’s exciting! I am trying to embrace a new freedom. Amazing how long it takes to work something into your life. I’ve been walking with the Lord for 27 years now.
So I’m joining in with Paul and saying:
“GOD HAS SET EVERYTHING RIGHT BETWEEN HIM AND ME!!!”
Not EVERYTHING except for... EVERYTHING, as in ALL!
I have been pondering grace a lot lately. Being a structured person, I fall into legalism many times and God has to remind me that He is doing the work in my life.
He tells me: "This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger]." (John 6:29 Amp.)
That's it! My only work! Everything else Christ is working in me. (Philippians 1:6 "...He Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.") And even the work of believing is with help because without Jesus' help, I can do nothing. (John 15:5)
This good news is a boon to my soul. I am learning to rest in Him, trusting Him to work in and through me. I have added my name into the Message version of Romans 4:3 and placed it where I can see it daily.
"Lezlie entered into what God was doing for her, and that was the turning point! She trusted God to set her right instead of trying to be right on her own."
I had another ‘throne to throne’ moment today; His mighty vs. my puny glory. I was reading in Isaiah 48. Verse 13 is what brought my efforts into sharp focus as being SO minor in comparison to God’s. I was reading in the Message. Verses 12 and 13 say: “I’m the One. I got things started and, yes, I’ll wrap them up. Earth is my work, handmade. And the skies—I made them, too, horizon to horizon. When I speak, they’re on their feet, at attention.” The phrase, ‘Earth is My work, handmade,’ is what drew my attention. My hobby of crocheting then popped into my head and how the baby items I make get lots of compliments. When, in my mind’s eye, I saw my ‘best efforts’ laid out beside His, I just had to laugh at the Grand Canyon sized gulf between. It, once again, drove home that He is amazing and I am humbled and honored that He views puny me as the apple of His eye. So, I just trail along in the wake of my Glorious Father and try to be like Him by creating beauty.
Then my reading in the New Testament took me to Galatians 6:4-5 which went right along with this train of thought. It says: “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”