What The Sacrifice Reveals About The Results

Lamb

(FreeImages.com/AnthonyRobson)

Today as I was reading in my quiet time with the Lord thoughts concerning sacrifice and results, some truths stood out to me.  I am hoping some of these thoughts will encourage some of you, as they have me.

In my study, I was reading in I John 2:1-10.

1 John 2:1-2

My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

The question in my study was, “Why do sinners need propitiation?”  My response was the following:

Righteousness requires justice.  To excuse sin is to harbor, compromise, and yield to sin.  We would be destroyed though for justice to fall fully upon us.  Because God is not only Holy and Just but also Mercy and Love, He provided a perfect substitute for us.

As a considered the sacrifice that was offered on our behalf in the Person of Jesus what I saw revealed so much about our salvation! 

Our salvation is completely tied up in the sacrifice.

In other words, the sacrifice is completely relevant to the outcome.

The results of our salvation are a direct correlation to the sacrifice made on our behalf.

Only a perfect being could make a perfect substitute.

It’s the nature of the thing/Person being offered that determines its effectiveness.  To avoid confusion, let me clarify.

In OT times, the people would sacrifice animals.  They were to be without blemish.  It was not that God enjoyed the suffering or sacrifice of these animals, but He was revealing some paramount truths to the Israelites.  He was revealing the horrible effects of sin, the justice that is required for sins, and the holiness of His own nature.

The OT sacrifices though were only temporary.  They couldn’t completely eradicate sin or its effects.  They were imperfect, sacrificial substitutes because they weren’t complete, but they portrayed the need that sinners have for a sinless, eternal sacrifice.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to comprehend the requirement of justice.  Yet, when we see horrible evil, we demand justice.  How much more does a perfect God abhor sin!

Because God is also Love and Mercy, He knew that He had to provide a sacrifice that would be complete, perfect, and eternal so He offered Himself.

I want to ponder that a bit longer…

He offered Himself.

Jesus reveals God Himself in this perfect sacrifice.

John 14:7

The Father Revealed

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

The heart of the Father and the nature of God is revealed in the Son.  Jesus reveals that God is the perfect unity of Grace & Truth, Mercy and Justice, and Holiness and Redemption.

What Jesus reveals about our salvation is this:

Jesus was the Only One to fully satisfy the requirements for our sins’ sacrifice because He was sinless, human, divine, had power over death, and is eternal!

What this sacrifice reveals is that our salvation is:

  • Perfect

  • Personal

  • Divine

  • Cancels sin’s power

  • Eternal

2 Corinthians 5:21

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Acts 4:12

12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Revelation 7:10

10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

John 1:29

The Lamb of God

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Revelation 15:3

They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:

“Great and marvelous are Your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the saints![a]

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The Lid Is Coming Off The Box

Pink boxes 2

(FreeImages.com/NathalieDulex)

It was two years ago this April that the Lord did some major healing in my life.  I had a broken image of my identity and calling, and God restored that.  I remember when He showed me a picture of this beautifully-wrapped, pink gift.  He spoke to my heart and told me that He had a calling upon my husband’s and my life that was more beautiful than I had ever imagined!  I remember the tears and the healing those words brought to me.

The calling wasn’t because my husband and I are so wonderful or qualified in ourselves.  Rather, He qualifies the called. 

This year, I am seeing the lid coming off the gift of His calling upon our lives.  I am a bit nervous but also excited!  Humbled by the privilege of serving with Him! Humbled with the honor of bringing others to Him and sharing Him so that the “captives might be set free!”

Jesus has a calling upon each of our lives — a purpose that far exceeds our wildest dreams!

The calling is wrapped up in Himself — in His image.  Our destiny, worth, and image is tied within the gift of Jesus Himself!

Recently, my husband and I were having a conversation, and the Lord revealed with burning clarity the truth of why we need to know that our worth, identity, and purpose is in Jesus.

If we are looking for worth and identity in ministries, in missions, in a church, in relationships, in appearance, in education, in vocation, etc…, we will encounter a lot of rejection that we will take on as our own.  We will struggle with a lot of pride, comparisons, envy, judgment, hurt, and insecurity.

On the other hand, if we understand that our identity is in Jesus, we will be completely secure, fulfilled, and “whole.”  Why?  Because we will know this…

Jesus is our identity! 

Because Jesus is eternal, perfect, and unconditional, we can rest secure in Him — never feeling that our reflection is marred or rejected because of the opinion of someone else!

Let me restate that:

We can rest secure in Him — our true identity — because He is eternal, flawless, and secure, full of unconditional love!

Our identity is in Jesus!

Who He is is who we are in Him!

Why The Name?

Hello My Name Is

(FreeImages.com/blogmonkey)

Why is it that the name of Jesus holds so much power?

Sitting in church this morning (1/15/17), I was thinking about this — that the name of Jesus itself holds so much power.  I considered: “Why?”

What is it about the name?

The name Jesus means Jehovah Saves.

No other name has or ever will be able to save anyone from their sins.  That’s the power of His name!

His name means release — freedom from all that entangles the soul and spirit and the sound of the clanking of shackles as they hit the ground…

His name means the sound of peace — peace that  transcends down into the soul and that has no contingency upon the things that surround its environment or circumstances.

His name is the sound of joy — sound that reverberates in sound waves from absolute release and ecstasy of spirit.

His name is the sound of death melting away and the explosion of “true” life!

His name is the full expression of the Father’s heart as seen in Jesus, the Son — the sound of absolute, unconditional love.

Philippians 2:9-11

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Acts 4:12

12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

When you study Jesus, you either hate Him because He is the diametric opposite of selfishness, greed, and pride (human nature) or you love Him because you see a heart of love that always seeks to give, heal, save, and restore.

What we often forget is that by knowing Jesus, we know the Father.

So often, God The Father is perceived as cold, removed, harsh, but in reality, Jesus reveals what the heart of God is like.  He is forgiving, healing, life-restoring, impartial, just, humble, truth-speaking, and willing to sacrifice His best for us!

John 14:7

The Father Revealed

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”

John 14:9

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

John 8:9

Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”

John 10:38

38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe[a] that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”

John 16:3

And these things they will do to you[a] because they have not known the Father nor Me.

Luke 10:22

22 All[a] things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

Matthew 11:27

27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

As we consider the name of Jesus may we be challenged to examine what the name of Jesus means to us personally?

His name is the dividing ground because it reveals what’s in our hearts and forces us to make a choice.  It is a choice to identify with a name that never sought the popularity of public opinion nor to gratify selfish desires but who calls us to Himself.  He calls us to Himself in a way that means we need to let go of the self-motivating disguises for being religious or the self-serving reasons for turning away and following our own pursuits.

Jesus means we simply come as we are — in all of our brokenness and woundedness.  We leave it all behind — every sinful pleasure and every selfish ambition, and we enter into the life and inheritance, promised and fulfilled in Jesus!

Save

Save

This Is My Worth!

shadow

(FreeImages.com/HansWidmer)

The book lay open in my hands.  I had been given the privilege of reading for a few uninterrupted minutes, and the book I chose to read told the story of Jesus’ life, ministry on earth, and His death.  It was a story that I had read many times.  Yet, reading it again was like hearing it for the first time.  I read again about someone who lived so purely, so sacrificially, and so lovingly.  His humility was such a stark contrast to the showiness of the religious leaders and to those who sought Him for His works but not for Himself.  Yet, He gave and healed so freely, and what was given and done for Him?  A few rugged and uneducated men followed him, often bickering and then finally abandoning Him when it became dangerous and unpopular to follow Him.

Then, my mind’s eye could picture Him in all the gore of His beatings, the pain of the betrayals, but even more the weight of all the shame He bore.  Do you know how horrible it is when we needlessly carry the shame of our mistakes?  Yet, Jesus carried all of those horrendous sins — from Adolf Hitler to ISIS to the Ted Bundy’s of this world.  He carried every abuse, every lie, every lust, and there was no one to shoulder the burden for Him.  We don’t have to carry the weight of our sins, but He did.  He carried the crushing weight of EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. THOSE. SINS.  Yes, EVERY. SINGLE. ONE!

And God, His perfect and incredibly loving Abba Father had to turn His back on His Son.  Jesus had never experienced that — ever.  We don’t understand that because God pursues each of us and loves us.  Yet, Jesus didHe experienced what it felt like to have to carry every last sin and carry it all upon Himself.  He carried all of that for me.  …for you.

Then, it struck me.  It struck me how incredibly I am loved!  Such a price was paid for me… for you!  It was a price of infinite worth!  The price paid was God Himself.  He gave His all.  He gave Himself.

Then, I realized this:

We don’t understand our worth because we don’t understand the depth and magnitude of the sacrifice He made for us.

I don’t deserve it.  I am absolutely humbled and incredibly grateful that God Himself gave His all to redeem me and to give me an inheritance with Him!

To be honest, I can’t wrap my mind completely around that thought.  It’s overwhelming!

As the truth of this sinks in, I raise my face, slick with tears, to look up, knowing He sees and hears me.  Into the holiness of the realization of Who He is, I whisper these simple words, “Thank you, Jesus!  Thank you!”

This is what it means to be His daughters and sons: it means to have infinite worth because an Infinite God loved me that much!

He gave His everything for me… for you!

Thank you, Jesus.

How Trusting In God Plays Into Forgiveness

trust me

(FreeImages.com/LorenaMolinari)

This happened not too long ago…

God was bringing to my mind a person that I needed to forgive.  As I was dialoguing with God about this situation, acknowledging that I needed to forgive and asking Him to help me choose to forgive, He asked me the question, “Do you trust me?”

“Do you trust me?”

It struck me then!

Forgiveness is trusting God with the offender/offense.

Forgiveness is giving the offender/offense to God and no longer trying to be judge and jury over them.

Do It Broken

YMCA Horse Mosaic 1

(FreeImages.com/MichelleRau)

As I was sitting in bed this morning with my journal, Bible, and a devotional, the words began to pour out, and the tears began to fall.  Before long, I was scrambling for my pen to jot down the thoughts God was giving me — thoughts about brokenness and grace…

I was reflecting back on how so many times I have wondered why God would entrust me with five precious children to raise when I am far from perfect.  I am not the most patient person.  Loud noises and lots of activity stress me.  Chaos and messes annoy me.  I get easily stressed over crazy busyness and never-ending activities.  The humor in this is all the above often describes my life.

I seem like the most unlikely choice to being a mom of five kids.  Was it all one big cosmic mistake, or ignorance on my part?  Does that mean my kids and I are relegated to just “muck through” the rest of life until they are out of the home, and I can be back in my comfy place again?

In answer to those questions, I will share thoughts God has been teaching me and what I want to share with you today…

Religion often teaches us that God waits until we get it all right before He uses us.

Grace is about God using us — not even in spite of our imperfections — but sometimes because of them.  Why?  Because when we are broken, we are pliable — more apt to be yielded and teachable.

Grace is God taking our brokenness and making something beautiful with the pieces.  He puts the pieces of our lives together, and it forms a beautiful piece of art.  It tells a whole new story.

I wrote the following words to the leaders on my business team.  Within our business, we are often required to stretch beyond our feelings, and the following words were to encourage them: (I think they just might encourage a few of you.)

I wanted to share some words of encouragement to you this Tuesday morning. We all go through times when we doubt ourselves and when we don’t feel completely “on top of our game.” The tendency is to then “hang back” and wait for that future time when we feel more successful or like we have it together before attempting to pursue our dreams. In other words, we want our dream before we pursue it. The truth is we have to pursue our dream before we find it.

I am going to blog about this shortly, but I wanted to post this note I wrote to an ambassador for all of you. I am hoping there might be a word of encouragement in it for you…

“I want to tell you, it’s okay to do life ‘broken.’ You don’t have to wait to live life or pursue your dreams until you ‘feel’ them. The best advice I can give you is to ‘do it scared’ and do it broken.

Grace acknowledges our brokenness — not to worship the brokenness — but to give glory to the Supremacy of the cross over our brokenness.

The power of the cross is the fact that God sees you not as you are but as Christ is!!!

Grace is the cross!

Grace is God’s ability to take our anguish, our brokenness, and our failings and to use us still. It is God’s ability to use imperfection and make it perfect because of the User.

The key is our surrender. We surrender to Him and quit trying to be all perfect before He can use us.

He uses us not in spite of our brokenness, but He uses even through and because of our brokenness itself to accomplish His purposes.”

And I want to cry right there…!

I am going to repeat this powerful statement once again:

Grace acknowledges our brokenness — not to worship the brokenness — but to give glory to the Supremacy of the cross over our brokenness.

So often, we get this idea that grace is slapping a “happy face” sticker over the world’s ills and telling everyone, “You’re great where you are.  Just be happy.”

The reality is Grace sees the depths of our anguish and brokenness and then says, “Give it to me, and I will take your brokenness and give you My Wholeness.  Your brokenness will become My wholeness because I will take those broken pieces, and I will bring healing to them and make them whole.”

Today, as you return to your chaotic world and the reminders of your own brokenness, I want to encourage you to stop looking at the brokenness and start looking at the cross.

The cross is a picture of brokenness and wholeness that melded into One Perfect Being so that you and I have a future, a calling, a tangible peace, an inexplicable joy, and an eternal hope that is a reality!!!

Give God your brokenness because He wants to weld His wholeness to it.

When All Creation Cries…

Rain

(FreeImages.com/SimonSmith)

I awake this morning to more news of suffering and tragedy. The air is heavy with humidity, and I wonder if it isn’t the tears of this world, groaning because of the depths of such suffering and such evil. Hearts are heavy, and as much as we couldn’t exist without God’s grace and long-suffering, we hold our breath in collective question and ask, “How long, Oh Lord?”

Tears pour down, and I grieve for the mommies who want to hold their precious babes one more time. …for husbands and wives who wish they could love one more time… for children who wish they had a parent to kiss their tears away… There are no simple words for anguish so deep.

Within this heavy, collective breath, I see Him, like it was yesterday, hanging there on the cross, and saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He was perfectly sinless; they were perfectly evil. Why does He say, “They know not what they do?”

Perhaps, the answer is this: if we all really saw and understood the heart of God and His purpose and plans for our life… if we saw what He desires for us and tasted of His goodness and His life… if we really and truly understood… if eyes weren’t blinded by lies, evil, and suffering… if people didn’t turn away from their true Source of comfort, peace, and love and turn inward, trying to cover the searing pain and questions…

Then, we would know that the answer to this world’s agony is not enacting more laws. It’s turning to the One who doesn’t just turn a deaf ear to our suffering, but He took on our suffering and became one of us. He not only suffered along with us, but He suffered for us. He carried agony that we will never experience.

That is why the cross is a picture of “Unfathomable evil intersected with unfathomable grace at the cross.”

Captivated!

waterfalls

(FreeImages.com/YaroosKonkret)

sunny mountain

(FreeImages.com/BiankaMarton)

Mountains & Valley

(FreeImages.com/BrandonKeim)

Monument Valley

(FreeImages.com/cmsler)

Snowy valley

(FreeImages.com/BillBlue)

Grand Canyon Point Royal

(FreeImages.com/MarkButler)

Antelope Canyon 4

(FreeImages.com/FrancoisEgli)

Flower

(FreeImages.com/AndreasDahl)

insect

(FreeImages.com/ElisaChang)

sleeping baby

(FreeImages.com/SS)

Beauty surrounds us everywhere!  There is beauty in the creation we see — from the tiniest insect, to vibrant flowers, to rainbows, to mountains, to valleys, and to the innocence of a baby.  So often, I go through life unaware of the beauty that surrounds me and to the greater purpose of what that beauty reveals.

This morning I read the following quote from the new study I am beginning, called Wonderstruck:

God extends uncounted invitations to encounter Him; yet, too often I sleep straight through.  Unconscious of the life God desires for me, I slumber in the presence of the sacred and snore in the company of the divine.

Wow!  In the study I am reading it is all about being aware and in awe of God’s Presence.  This study reminds me that you and I have been created to worship God.  That is our purpose.

To a selfish culture, the idea of being created just to worship God can sound very boring, or worse, we fear it.  We fear that we will lose ourselves and that we have no significance in such a purpose; so, we strive for autonomy at the cost of our own highest fulfillment.

An object that is created for a purpose will only function best when it fulfills its intended purpose.  You can try to use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail and may achieve limited success, but the screwdriver will suffer from greater wear than for which it was designed.  The user will suffer greater frustration for forcing an object to be something it wasn’t intended to be.

The same is true with us.

We fear that in surrendering control to the superior Being of God that we will lose ourselves – our uniqueness and our significance.  The truth is the opposite.

Matthew 16:25

25 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Matthew 16:25 is saying that when we surrender control of our lives and yield to our greater purpose, we actually then “find our life.”  That is when we truly live life to the fullest.

We actually don’t reach our full potential and find our greatest fulfillment and satisfaction until we become who we were created to be.

So if we were created to worship God, why does it often seem so elusive and challenging to be in a constant or even regular state of worship?  Shouldn’t it be easy to worship God?!!!

I was studying what it means to worship or wonder.

Three words came to mind when I considered the word wonder.  They are awe, inspiring, and captivating.

The thought came to me that in order to be in awe of something, we have to be aware of it.  Two people can be driving by a beautiful scenic mountain.  The one person is dozing and misses the entire view.  The other person is awake and is mesmerized by the scene.  Two people in the same location have two very different experiences.

The same can be true with our spiritual lives.

Some of us are too busy trying to “win” our way to God in order to experience Him.  The problem with that is that God’s love for us was never based upon our ability to be “worthy” of it.  We can’t experience God by trying to work our way to Him.

God, as the Giver, gave us, as the receivers, our worth.

Heaven paid its highest price in order for us to be reconciled to God!  We have inherent worth because God was willing to pay the ultimate price for us.  He wants our fellowship and a relationship with us that much!

Some of us are too distracted by inconsequential things to focus on the more important.  We miss the “vistas” because we don’t want to get out of the comforts of our cars or leave the predictability of our homes.

To experience the presence of God does not require we have to necessarily leave our normal routines.  It does require us to be in a place of receptivity and awareness.  We can’t receive from God if we are unwilling through pride and/or fear to be vulnerable and receptive.

In order to be aware means we need to be less self-aware and more God-aware.  We can be so caught up in ourselves that we miss the greater wonder surrounding us.

I wrote a list this morning of a few wonders that I take for granted:

  1. His Word — bored or read it from a sense of duty rather than desire sometimes.
  2. Prayer — instead of being amazed at the opportunity to partner with God, I am distracted and/or doubtful at times.
  3. His creation!  I often don’t stop and savor the magnificence of creation.
  4. His Presence and communication with me.  I can be distracted, lazy, anxious, or selfish — instead of resting, “entering” into His rest, abiding in His Presence, and listening and waiting on Him.

This morning, I was challenged to pause, consider, savor, absorb, and be inspired by the God of the Universe.

The more I consider the magnificence of God, the more humbled I am by the significance He gave me by desiring a relationship with me!  It is overwhelming and amazing to consider that He cherishes and desires my worship!

One simple refrain repeats itself upon my lips: “Thank you, Jesus!  Thank you, Jesus! Jesus.”

Random Notes But A Powerful Message!

The home of the the power for the sky

(FreeImages.com/AndreiGhergar)

 Yesterday, the Lord encouraged me with many wonderful truths through His Word, devotionals, a message, and thoughts during a prayer meeting.  I wanted to share them with you.  Enjoy the following:

5/4/16 AM: Believe the Lord was speaking to my heart this morning.  He reminded me of the verse I was given for this year:

2 Corinthians 5:17

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Read in my devotional how we often want to go back — back to happier times.  God though always leads us forward.  I need to let go of the “if-onlys” and remember, “Today is fresh with no mistakes” (quote from Anne Shirley in Anne Of Green Gables), no misgivings, and no if-only.

5/4/16 early afternoon message:  “We often try to head towards freedom when God wants us to live from freedom.”  He is freedom!

It’s been said, “Freedom is experiencing the Presence of God.”  Amen!

“Grace empowers us to walk out the truth.”

Jesus asked the question, “Who do you say that I am?”  Pivotal question!  This will determine your entire belief system and how you live your life.  Who is Jesus to you?  It’s not what other people say; it’s not what the books say.  What do you believe about Jesus?  Who is He really to you?

Your ministry doesn’t validate who you are in Him.  Get ahold of who you are to Him and in Him.  Your “ministry” is not to find something to prove yourself.  It’s finding Jesus — having such a powerful/intimate relationship with Jesus Christ that it impacts everyone you meet.

We spend so much of our time waking up sin-conscience when we should be awaking Son-conscience.

“People aren’t your problem; you are.”

“You can be wrong about being right.”

“Instead of trying to sell people my fruit, why I don’t let them pick it?”  (sharing our faith)

“Let your roots go into the love of God.”

“Your family isn’t your problem; you are!”  (How many times do we blame others for our own lack of happiness and peace?  Our lack of peace and joy can only be blamed upon ourselves.  No one can take away your peace and joy, unless you allow it.)

Wherever you are shouldn’t be dark because you are there.   (Jesus in you!)

“Having a form of godliness is knowing a lot of God’s Word without the power of the Holy Spirit to apply it.”

“You can’t walk the Beattitudes out in the flesh.”  (Why so many don’t like them.)

False grace slips when there’s no relationship with Jesus — not the intimate knowing and being known.

“A lack of the body of Christ is in praying — not preaching.”

“Don’t bypass God to get a father figure.”

Co-labor with fellow Christians — don’t be co-dependent.

Heaven paid an infinite cost.  Why?  Because He values you!  The one who values the object is willing to pay the high price.  This is what gives the object worth.  Anything can be valuable or valueless.  It’s the buyer who determines the worth of the object.  Jesus determined our worth by paying the infinite price to redeem us!

1 John 1:7

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

“If you envy someone else, it means you don’t know who you are.” (Whose and therefore who you are…)

“Intimacy is that you know that you’re known.”  (truly known — all of you and yet accepted and loved)

“Live a life that is pleasing to the Lord — not because you have to but because you want to.”

“Pursue God at the cost of everything; God is worth it all!”

“If you’re on fire and you get put into the fire, you’ll be alright.  The fire is not the issue.  Trials aren’t the issue.”

“Heaven paid the highest price to revalue you.”

Wherever you go, there should be revival.

“Everyone is a target for the love of God, but not everyone wants to be.  You have to know who you are.”

“You’ll never love your neighbor unless you know who you are.”

5/5/16 AM devotional:

Read this this morning: “I will fight for you; you need only to be still. I know how weary you are, my child. You have been struggling just to keep your head above water, and your strength is running low. Now is the time to stop striving and let Me fight for you. I know this is not easy for you to do. You feel as if you must keep struggling in order to survive, but I am calling you to rest in Me. I am working on your behalf; so be still, and know that I am God. Quieting your body is somewhat challenging for you, but stilling your mind may often seem downright impossible. In your striving to feel secure, you have relied too heavily on your own thinking. This struggle to be in control has elevated your mind to a position of autonomy. So you need the intervention of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to control your mind more and more — soothing you from the inside out. Take time to rest in the shadow of the Almighty while I fight for you.” (by S. Young)
5/5/16 another devotional:
Reading about Gideon…  He was a man blinded by his perceived limitations.  He relied on the physical rather than the spiritual.  He based his security on what was tangible.  He forgot or ignored the God-equation.  Following quote from Men & Women Of The Bible:
God’s grace and provision are more than enough [to compensate] for what we may lack.
This is true because God is El Shaddai — the all-sufficient God!  He is more than enough!
Gideon’s perspective revealed that he didn’t know his God.  He didn’t know his true self (what God created and died for us to be).
We are sometimes our own worst critic.
from Men & Women Of The Bible:
We are our own worst critic because we don’t know ourselves as God knows us and sees us!
What are we to God:
I am His inheritance!  Jesus brought me to the “throne room of His grace,” redeemed me, forgave me, and clothed me in His righteousness.
5/5/16 AM Bible study with my son:
 God looks at you in the light of His Word — not yours!
from “Men & Women Of The Bible”
So many amazing truths as seen in Ephesians 1:

Ephesians 1

Greeting

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Redemption in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[b] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[c] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

How secure is our salvation and position in Christ?  As secure and reliable as Christ and the Holy Spirit!  He sealed us by the Holy Spirit.  He brought our salvation about in Christ.  This is our security!

You accept this gift of salvation, and it is yours.

What is the price of one soul — your soul?!!!

Jesus said, “You are of infinite worth because He paid the ultimate, eternal, and infinite cost for you!”

To Behold

Skye Island, Scotland

(http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=2518178&searchId=6cad826248cd3f4e93da71e7b49928e3&npos=29)

The words seem to spill out of their own volition.  My heart is overflowing.  There is this awareness of so much goodness — overflowing abundance of goodness…

There is this insatiable hunger.  I can’t seem to get enough of Him.

I met Him and became aware of His love for me, and I fell in love with Him… not the passionate selfish kind of one’s youth.  Instead, it’s a love that makes me complete, content, overjoyed, awe-struck, captivated, inspired, strengthened, at rest.

Before seeing His love for me personally, I had a relationship with Him but it was distant, based on what I had heard or read.  It was built on a lot of “theories” and “head” knowledge.

My worship was related to what I knew about Him with my “head.”  It sounded nice with many fancy-sounding words, but it was a worship of knowledge.  Oh, I had my moments when there was some heart to it…

I was His after all.  Yet, something was missing, and I didn’t know what it was.  I didn’t even know really for awhile that something was missing — how can you when you haven’t had it before?

Then life happened, and with it came pain, hardships, and the ever seeking for a new sense of being.  I tried to be something alright.  I tried to be the most “godly” daughter I could be.  I thought I could be more acceptable to Him if I was more.  I thought He wanted my performance.  Later, I would find out He wanted my heart.

I knew I wanted Him.  I wanted His approval, but most of all, what I was really seeking was His love.  I wanted to feel loved.  So I did or tried to do all the right things.  I was the “good girl”.

What I didn’t realize was that my “godliness” was only “godlified-moralism”.  I would discover that godliness isn’t something you can put on or wear.  True godliness is from Him. 

I didn’t realize that every time I tried to be godly I was doing it in my own strength, with my own ideas and perceptions.  I carried a heavy weight of guilt because I just could never be “godly enough” on my own.

I had trusted Him to be my Savior from my sins, and I knew He loved me enough to die.  My love though was based more on a past-tense event then on a present-day awareness of love.  I didn’t fully realize that He didn’t just die for my sins (which was more than enough) but that He also wanted to take the sinner and transform her to become like His Son.  I didn’t realize all my “inheritance” as His daughter — all that I have in Him.

As the years passed, I became more and more hungry to experience fullness of life in Him, but all I knew was this endless struggle of trying to be godly and falling short.

Then came the day when it all changed.

I remember those moments like I am watching a Cinema movie.  I can recall myself trembling as I awoke to God’s Spirit convicting me and telling me what needed to change — that I needed to find my identity in Him.

I remember crying out to Him and begging Him to tell me what He thought of me because I was forever trying to prove myself to Him, trying to win His acceptance — even though I already was His child.

Then, I remember.  I remember standing there singing those beautiful words to the song “I’m Overwhelmed” by Big Daddy Weave and then it was as if He was singing them to me.

I remember getting up and leaving in the middle of the song to go to a private spot where I could pray.  I remember those gut-wrenching sobs as I began to cry out to God.  As I began to cry out to Him, He began to answer me.

I “saw” that I was no longer running after Him, begging Him for His love.  I saw that He was running towards me.

It was then that my heart ran smack into the heart of God, and I truly came home.

I have never been the same again.

I have this sense of completeness, strength because I have experienced His love for me — so perfect, complete, unconditional.  I no longer live to prove something.  Life no longer has to be a struggle.  It is instead a surrender.  As I surrender to a God I know personally and can trust because He loves me completely, I find all of His gifts and resources at my disposal.

Godliness is not something I achieve.  It’s something He gives/bestows on me as I simply abide in Him. 

Godliness comes from being in His Presence.  Godliness isn’t something I produce.  It’s something He produces in me.

He just wants me — me yielded to Him so that He can transform this broken vessel into something out of which His glory can spill.

My heart yearns to forever be in His physical Presence.  I can’t wait to behold His smile and to look into His eyes and to be lost in them.

I can’t wait to dance in the Presence of the One who made me.

I can’t wait to sit at His feet and to simply soak up His Presence.

I can’t wait to walk with Him and talk with Him… to see the nail prints and to know they are an eternal symbol of His eternal love for me.

His love has changed me.

I wish there were adequate words to describe the depth of my gratitude for Him.

I wish I could help all to see and recognize His love for them — for each and every one of His creation.

With every waking breath, I can’t seem to restrain myself from wanting to share the wonder of this with everyone.  Think me strange or something else, but what I know is once I was “blind” but now I “see.”

I personally see His goodness, His glory, His grace, His love, His transforming truth, His life…  I see Him!

Job 42:5

“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.

And this…