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Archive for June, 2012

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts though faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lords holy power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:17-19

My walk is much different today compared to my earlier years, although it will never be what He deserves.  The love that I had searched my whole life for, the void I could never seem to fill is “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  He has blessed me beyond what I could have ever dreamed of, He loves me that wide, long, high, and deep that he has perfect plans just for me.  The next time I fall or my world gets rocked I will not forget who loves me and I will never again forget the power he has to change a life.  He is my everlasting God and I pray that you too will know his love.

One of my favorite songs about how much Jesus loves us is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NlJftMZuMM

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After reaffirming my faith as a twenty year old, my relationship with God began to feel very real. I began reading my Bible on a regular basis.  But it wasn’t long before once again my world was rocked upside down and began crumbling around me.   I picked myself up and found a church, but my walk with him still was not that great. I still allowed my own will to rule over me.

 

“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again”  Proverbs 24:6

 

I fell over and over again and made some pretty huge  mistakes and felt my sins  were unspeakable but Jesus loves me enough that he never gave  up on me. In His forgiveness, I have been able to rise back up over and over again only because He has picked me up over and over again.

 

“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion”  Psalm 116:5

 

His Holy power brought me out of dark and into the light so I can see His goodness.

 

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God wants us to draw close to Jesus and His love.

I feel like my faith journey is very unique.  I did not accept Christ as a small child and then completely follow His ways and I did not accept Him as an adult and have this huge life changing experience. Yet I see how God kept drawing me close to Jesus and His love.

When I was 10 years old, my Step-Mother became a believer and started bringing us to church.  I had been to church before but had always been picked up on a church bus.  When I was 12 I asked Jesus to come live in my heart and was baptized shortly after.  But this did not make problems at home go away and a couple years later my life went though a major change.  My world was different and Jesus was nowhere to be found (at least, I was not looking for him or listening for him)  I did not  even think about Him.  Selfishness and worldliness ruled my heart.

When I was 20 someone came in to my life and they reminded me about how much Jesus loved me.  This is the moment I remember when I think about my relationship with God. I don’t remember much about accepting Christ when I was 12 but reaffirming my faith in Him as an adult was so real.

Matthew 18:12-14 says this,

“…If a man owns one hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”

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I have always been a bit uptight regarding PDA (Public Displays of Affection) but walking through the mall the other day really about put me over the edge. I don’t mind a little hand holding or the occasional sweet kiss on the cheek, but it feels like people take it to whole new levels these days and honestly, it makes me uncomfortable.  How should I respond to the over-the-top PDA?  I just ignore it but secretly I always wonder what would happen if I followed the example of the mom in the movie Cheaper By the Dozen who claps her hands loudly at the daughter on the couch with the boyfriend…

But the purest Public Display of Affection that has ever been seen here on earth was the day Jesus Christ willingly stepped towards the cross and chose to die for our sins.  We didn’t deserve it…we were spiritually dead in our imperfections!  Yet God’s great love shone out from the cross, on display through all the ages through the perfect person of Jesus, so that we can be in relationship with Him and have eternal life!

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

How should I respond to that kind of PDA?  It is uncomfortable in its intensity…  I have a choice.  I can choose to avert my eyes and try to ignore the passion of God on display or I can unashamedly gaze in awe and speak words of praise to my God!

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Who is Jesus?  Jesus is the beloved Son of God the Father.

“And as soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.  At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’”  Matthew 3:16-17

And what does Jesus do with that kind of love?  He invites us in to join in the circle of love that defines He and His Father’s relationship. In John 14:23 Jesus says this, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.  My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

Oh, how we as women long to be beloved, to be encircled by true love and to live in a home filled with love.  Sometimes we experience a taste of that here in our imperfect world, but we can always experience this kind of love in our spirit through relationship with Jesus Christ.  He wants us to obey his teaching, the teaching that says, I am GodPlace your trust in me and love me above all else!  When we do that, we are spiritually encircled by God’s amazing love.  We too are beloved!

Father God, thank you for our dad’s here on earth who have loved us and cared for us with Your kind of love.  But we know that perfect love can only be found in You, a pure love that never fails.  Because of that, in Your strength, we choose to forgive our earthly fathers for where they have failed us and we choose to love them with Your love.  And most of all, we honor You today, dear God, as our spiritual Father and want to tell You how much we love You.

 

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Better than a Post-it Note–Jesus sticks even in times of trouble; He sticks to the End!

“Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money (including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions) and be satisfied with your present (circumstances and with what you have); for He (God) Himself has said, ‘I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. (I will) not, (I will) not, (I will) not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let (you) down (relax My hold on you)! (Assuredly not!)’ ” Hebrews 13:5

I am always leaving little notes to myself on the kitchen cupboard… an item to get from the grocery store, a call that I need to make the next day, etc.  Sometimes the notes unfortunately roll up and losing their “stickiness” and fall off without my knowledge. I will find one a week later in a pile of papers where it landed after falling off from the upper cupboard onto the counter below.  So, I have learned to reinforce the note with a bit of tape that is more trustworthy.

Will God ever fail you?  Will he ever leave you hanging only to then fall away when you lose your “stickiness”? NO!  NEVER!  Thank You, Lord.

We can stand on God’s Word. Isaiah 55:11 states, “So is My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”   We are promised from the Lord, that His Word (The Bible) will NOT return to Him empty and void.  We can count on God’s Word doing exactly what it promises.  God’s Word will accomplish the very thing that It says it will do.  So, stand on the firm truth in Hebrews 13:5:  God will ALWAYS be by your side, FOREVER, in ALL things. He will NEVER fail you.  He will NEVER leave you without support, helpless, and falling!

What I have found very helpful and gives me great confidence is placing “me” in the verses; I make the scripture personal to me. There are times when I have to talk to myself and remind myself by saying, “Thank You, Lord, that You will never leave me, nor forsake me! according to Your Word, Lord, in Hebrews 13:5”.

 

You can expect God to act on His Word, specifically for you!  Acts 10:34 says: “Opening his mouth, Peter said: ‘I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality.'”

 

God’s promises are for each of us, for everyone.  God is not partial to one person; showing favoritism to another.  He loves you and I and wants us to take Him at His Word.  “His Word is Truth!” (John 17:17)

Unlike the above picture of my unfaithful little sticky notes, Jesus can be trusted. He will stick with us; no extra reinforcement is needed.

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“So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees.”
Hebrews 12:12

Isaiah 35:3-4 Encourages us in the same way: “Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble and tottering knees.  Say to those who are of a fearful and hasty heart, ‘Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance; with the recompense of God He will come and save you.’ ”

It is easy in life to forget to come to the Lord first.   I don’t have to try to work things out in my own efforts and then come to Jesus when all else fails.  This is where I could have the tendency to trust in myself, especially when things go right, instead of humbly giving credit where credit is due.

My daughter had a situation at school, where she felt like she needed to bring a situation to the Dean’s attention.  About five of her friends were behind her, literally, as after speaking to the Dean for 47 minutes she found her friends outside the Dean’s door waiting for her.  They had been praying.  My daughter said that the meeting went favorably.  She felt like the words she spoke to the Dean flowed easily.  She also recognized, it was not in and of herself; it was indeed the Lord who she trusted in, who had honored her, her prayers and the prayers of her friends.  She recognized the Lord had given her the words to say, and the correct way to say them, which in turn brought her into a place of favor with the Lord, and with man, the Dean. (Luke 2:52).  She didn’t wait until things were out of control.  She went to God FIRST, knowing that He was the One who could help her.

Be encouraged. Go to God first. Be strong and courageous. Do not fear.  Starting with the Lord, relying on Him, first is always best.

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