The Many Blessings of Knowing Jesus

Let us pray: Father, I ask that as we’re in this sacred time of Passover and Resurrection Sunday, enable us to understand in a new way just what it is that Jesus did for us by becoming our Lamb and the blood on our hearts’ doors. As the lamb’s blood saved the first-born of the Jews and delivered them from slavery and death, help us realize more deeply how Jesus’ holy blood delivers us from the slavery of sin and spiritual death.

We thank You Holy God for doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. We acknowledge that on our own we’re unworthy of your goodness; yet made worthy because of your deep love for us and Jesus monumental sacrifice. We become presentable to You as we acknowledge and receive that holy ransom for ourselves.

As You etch all the wonder of this sacred time on our hearts, enable us to not only understand more deeply but to shine the light of that tremendous blessing to others who still live in the slavery of sin and the bondage of eternal death. We come boldly before your throne and ask this because Jesus’ precious blood gives us this privilege. Thank You Holy God, that Jesus empowers us to come to you in his eternal Name. Amen.

Remembering Jesus’ Sufferings

very time I take the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, I stop and think a few moments about what Jesus Christ, Son of God, sacrificed so that I might know Him. I remember his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and I think about the scourging and how agonizing that felt on his naked back as repeatedly flesh was torn from bone. I reflect on how Jesus shed his blood for me until none was left. Considering that nothing had ever separated Jesus from his Father since eternity began, I know I can’t imagine the horror of taking my sin upon Himself so that they were divided for a time. Probably that was the worst of Jesus’ agony.

Then I thank my Lord Jesus. And my Father, God Almighty, that they were willing to suffer all this for me. What a tremendous debt I owe, one I can never pay no matter what I do or how I try to serve. So, with a grateful heart of love, I again say Thank You.

Consider with me a moment the things Jesus endured. In the Garden even his disciples couldn’t stay awake to pray with Him. Think of how comforting it is to have a loved one with us when we’re grieving, but his closest friends couldn’t stay awake to pray. Jesus’ prayers to be spared the horrors of the cross were agonizing, causing Him to sweat drops of blood.  Reading the Scriptures of those prayers breaks my heart. Knowing what the near future held, Jesus so wanted to avoid the unimaginable torment He would endure, yet He wanted more to follow his Father’s will and surrendered to it.

After his arrest, the soldiers pulled out his beard, mocked and spit on him, putting a crown of thorns on his head. Finally, they scourged Jesus with a whip braided with pieces of iron so that it efficiently pulled the skin from the bones. That continued 39 times because more would kill a person, and many died before reaching that number.

After all this Jesus carried the armpiece of the cross on that broken back until He could no longer, and another had to carry it. As crude nails hammered into his wrist and feet, pain must have been unbearable, yet Jesus didn’t cry out or curse his torturers. Hanging on a cross would eventually suffocate a person, so they naturally used their feet to try to lift themselves up to catch a breath, all the time rubbing that bruised and opened flesh against the splintering upright log of the cross. Arms also rubbed against the splinters in the armpiece, causing even more pain. Yet most people took a couple of days to die, which is why soldiers broke the legs of prisoners, so that they couldn’t lift themselves up to breathe any more. The Son of God did not have his legs broken because He had already accomplished his task of paying for the sin of all people of all time, including you and me. But the soldier had to get his revenge and put his sword into Jesus’ side. That’s when he realized Who was on that cross.

Do you wonder why I thank Jesus and Father God when I take the Communion? How could I not?

How Did I Come to Know Jesus?

I grew up in church so heard about Jesus all my life at church as well as at home. One Easter Sunday the preacher talked about the two thieves who died beside Jesus, and even though I was a child, I understood that I had committed things against God too. I hadn’t known Jesus as my Savior but did that morning. I felt a joy in my heart that I hadn’t known previously, and Jesus became a Reality to me. I knew that whenever I died, I’d go to heaven and spend eternity there, seeing Jesus and Father God face to face.

I could pray and believe God would answer my prayers, growing very close to the Lord. Later I lost that closeness and although I continued going to church, I didn’t pray or read my Bible very much – until I got so hungry for more of God and searched for Him. Then I surrendered my will and asked Jesus to once again be my Lord as well as my Savior. I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, which is different from being sealed with the Spirit when I first accepted Jesus. I felt a joy unlike anything I’d ever previously known, like I was walking on a cloud. One morning when I woke our children to get ready for school, one of our daughters said to me, “How can you be so happy so early in the morning?” I told her, “How could I not be, after spending an hour with God?”

The Many Blessings

While the Bible promises enough benefits of knowing Jesus to fill a book, I’m only including a few here. In John 16:7, 13-15 Jesus promises that when He goes away (when He ascends to heaven), he will send Someone else, calling Him the Comforter, the Helper, the Spirit of truth. He will guide us and tell us things to come. The Spirit won’t speak on his own authority but only what He hears, always glorifying Jesus, who then glorifies the Father. In other parts of the New Testament we learn much more about the working of the Holy Spirit and all the benefits He brings to believers.

The first blessing I noticed immediately after this infilling was not being lonely when I was by myself and our home no longer needed music or TV until my family returned. I was shy and didn’t have many friends. We’d moved often, and I wasn’t sure how to make small talk with people I didn’t know well. Therefore, I watched soap operas because they went wherever we did. I was addicted to them. The first three days after I was baptized with the Spirit different things caused me to be gone during the time my favorite shows were on TV. On the fourth day I was home and didn’t even think about the shows when it was time. I was too busy singing. Jesus had immediately taken away my need for relationship with people other than my family; my addiction. I’m not saying this would happen always, just that I’m thankful it happened to me.

A great blessing from Jesus is the peace He gives. No longer did I struggle and feel restless, not knowing exactly what was wrong. That’s what I’d felt, plus an unhappiness I couldn’t explain. Now I had an inner serenity or well-being that had been missing. I’d been miserable because Jesus was no longer my Lord, and the Holy Spirit used that to draw me back to Him. I understood in a new way that my sins were forgiven so I didn’t have that guilt hanging over my head, beating me up about something I’m powerless to change. I felt at rest; my soul was calm as well as my spirit. Now whenever I’m missing this peace and calm, I run to my Father and ask Him to show me the problem.

A deep love fills believers with knowing we’re worthwhile, not because of who we are or what we’ve done but simply because we were worth so much to our Father that Jesus died for us so that we can be God’s child forever. Think of that! If I’d been the only person in the world, Jesus still would have suffered and died for me. That’s amazing! The same is true for you!

The next difference I noticed was a prayer language that wasn’t in English; indeed, my spirit communicated with the Holy Spirit, bypassing my human mind. He gave me ideas for prayer that I’d never have considered. I knew people I’d never met needed food or Bibles, for instance, and prayed for them. He brought prayers to mind of people I knew, though I didn’t know why they needed prayer. One friend came to mind several times and each time I talked with her soon afterward; she or her family needed prayer about a specific problem. Afterwards whenever someone’s name came to mind, I’d stop and pray for them, knowing there was a need. Without knowing what that need was, I prayed in my prayer language because it was given by God for such times (see Romans 8:26-27).

Sometimes when I’m praying by myself or with a group about a subject, I’ll ask something that seems off the central focus that others are praying, but I’ve learned that it’s needed even if I don’t understand all the details. It used to embarrass me when I was with others and this happened because they’d been praying about a certain part of the subject, and I’d interject something from a different angle. But I learned that’s what the Holy Spirit led me to pray so it was ok, nothing so off the wall at all.

Found in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4, the gifts of the Spirit become available to us. God gives these so that we can fulfill the purpose He planned for us before we were ever born. These gifts aren’t meant so we gain a name for ourselves; indeed, I think the people who are most gifted must be very humble people, or at least started out that way. We can’t set a goal of obtaining a spiritual gift and we don’t get to choose which gift we desire. However, we should learn to mature in the use of the gifts. We start as children and make mistakes along the way, but with practice we grow in the use and it blesses others more as we grow.

Talents and spiritual gifts can be related but are not the same thing. Talents are natural abilities we’re born with, which also must grow. Anyone can have them, but they usually follow in a family line. Spiritual gifts are only had by people who allow the Holy Spirit to lead their lives and are given by the Spirit of God, as He desires.

Believers also receive the Fruit of the Spirit. Found in Galatians 5:22-23, these are love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The verse goes on to say that there’s no law against these. Indeed, we can’t imagine people complaining when we demonstrate the fruit, especially towards them. However, we also must grow in living steadily in the fruit through our daily lives.

Another blessing of Jesus is sometimes just saying or emailing exactly what another person needs to hear. We don’t plan anything in particular; it just comes out and is the perfect encouragement or advice. Our Father knows what they need even when we don’t, but He’s glad to use us to bless others. And it’s a great blessing to us when they say, “That’s just what I needed today.” It gives us reassurance that we did hear Him correctly.

I write a blog (dailyGod.net) and it’s another place the Holy Spirit gives me ideas of what to say. I start writing and it simply flows, but if I suddenly find difficulty, I stop and don’t try to force myself to find words. I realize either I’ve misunderstood or it’s not the correct time to finish that piece. I have an internet friend who daily blogs prayers based on Bible verses. She told me she’s a scribe because she doesn’t have to sit and research what she writes: she reads the Bible in her customary order and God gives her the prayer to go with it. That’s the way I write. I don’t sit with an outline and follow all the rules for filling out the details, although I do start with a subject in mind. But even the direction of that may get changed mid-course; I simply write as I believe God leads me.

God speaks to us. He has many ways of doing this and knows exactly how to let us know what He desires. Often it’s through Scripture, but it may be through music or a sermon; sometimes friends say a word or nature gives us God’s thought for that day. My blog contains a section I call “Nature-inspired Thoughts” with many posts that nature stimulated. Occasionally, we’ll simply know we’re supposed to do something, and it settles deep in our heart. If we’re listening, we’ll know when God communicates.

More Blessings

 What are other blessings of being a child of God? John, the beloved disciple, tells us many of these blessings in the three letters he writes the churches. 1 John 1:9 tells us about confession.  We confess our sins when we first believe in Christ, but we do sin afterwards and sometimes unknowingly. For instance, we may hurt a person’s feelings by saying something and not realize that we’ve offended them. Sometimes we do something that doesn’t please God; although the action itself isn’t bad, He has a better purpose for us. 1 John 1:9 tells us that when we confess what we’ve done wrong that God will even forgive us those things we don’t realize.

God perfects his love in us (1 John 2:5). He first teaches us to love and forgive ourselves so that we’re able to love and forgive others. We’re told to love our neighbor as ourselves; but if we don’t love ourselves, that’s impossible. This love doesn’t make us feel more important than others; it gives us an appreciation of who God created us to be. We realize we’re not perfect but also not condemned because of that. When I as an adult made Jesus my Lord and not simply my Savior, I repeatedly berated myself for the years I’d not been the person God called me to be. One day Holy Spirit said to me, “If God forgives you, are you better than He is that you can’t forgive yourself?” That made me realize I’d been putting myself higher than God by not forgiving myself when I knew He had forgiven me. I immediately forgave myself and learned to love myself in the way God intended.

God’s perfecting his love in us often causes pain because the way He accomplishes this is when we need to love someone who is difficult to love, and we’ve all known those people. The reason it’s difficult is because they have hurt us, and we must forgive them, even if we choose not to be around them. Those memories return so we forgive them again each time we remember, until we’re finally able to allow the Lord to take that pain from our hearts.

True forgiveness towards another demonstrates God’s forgiveness of us, blessing us as we learn it. Years ago, I was hurt by a friend, and each time I thought of what she’d done, I mentally saw a billboard with her name on it. Finally, I asked the Lord to help me to forgive, and I then imagined her face and saw her as the usually kind person she was. Another time someone else hurt me repeatedly and the pain went much deeper. I prayed about forgiving this person because about the time I’d think I’d forgiven them, something else happened to reopen that wound. Holy Spirit reminded me of Romans 8:5 (NLT)  God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.  When I realized the significance of that single verse, I knew I had to forgive this person because they had not hurt me as deeply as I’d hurt God before I became a Christ-follower, even though I didn’t realize at the time what I was doing.

The Bible tells us to test the spirits to see if something is really from God (1 John 4:1). For years people have gone to fortune tellers or read horoscopes. These are not from God and if we know the Word, we don’t need to ask. But often things aren’t so obvious. Someone on TV may say something and claim it comes from God, but it doesn’t sound like that to us. We “test” the spirit behind that by asking, “Does it conform to the Bible? Does it deny either Jesus’ humanity or his holiness?” If it doesn’t meet these tests, then it’s not from God.

We need wisdom and discernment, so James 1:5 tells us to ask God without doubting and He will give us the knowledge we need. This means if we’re wondering if the person we want to marry is the right one, we can ask. If we’re looking at a new job, a move to a new city or whatever else we need, we can expect our Father to give us the wisdom about whether this is the best thing for us. Because of his great love, He will always guide us to the best for his future purpose in our lives.

Ephesians 1:3 tells us that God has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing we’ll ever need. What a great benefit this is! And chapter 2, verse 6 reminds us that God raised us from the dead when He raised Jesus, and we now spiritually sit in heavenly realms because that’s where Christ sits, and we’re united with Him.

Another great benefit of knowing Jesus is that we may boldly approach the throne of God, the Lord Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. Hebrews 4:16 tells us this so that we can receive the grace and mercy we need. We go humbly, never demanding, but we also go confidently because God looks at us through the blood of Jesus and loves us mightily.

Although it would probably take a book to list all the goodness we receive when we know Jesus, the last one I’d like to mention is healing. We are assured of this in several places in the Bible, so I’ll only mention two, and both are connected directly with our forgiveness of sin. I confess I don’t understand why we don’t see this more often. I’ve prayed for healing and others have prayed for me, but still I’m not healed. That doesn’t keep me from believing the Word of God, however. Because the Word connects forgiveness and healing, I know I’m forgiven; therefore, I know I’m healed and simply waiting for the manifestation of it.   A New Testament scripture is 1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV): [Jesus] who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed. As far as God is concerned, we were healed at the same time we were forgiven when Jesus died on the cross!

The Old Testament tells the same message in Psalm 103:1-5 (NKJV): Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless His holy name! (2) Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: (3) Who forgives all your iniquities [sins] and heals all your diseases, (4) Who redeems your life from destruction. Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, (5) Who satisfied your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Let us open our hearts and our minds to receive all that Jesus sacrificed so much to give us. During this Passover, let us pass over from old ways of thinking and enter new realms of realization about our blessings from Jesus. This Resurrection Sunday let us resurrect into living on a higher spiritual plane.

 

 

 

When We Meet Fog

The weather gave me more understanding of my morning Bible reading from Mark, chapter 8. In verses 1-10 Jesus fed the four thousand with seven small loaves of bread and a few fish. Leftovers could feed another crowd. Slightly later when Jesus and the disciples got into a boat to cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, the men discussed their forgetfulness in bringing food with them. Probably most of us would have called them stupid at that point unless we were also complaining about not having any bread.

Possibly an hour or two beforehand Jesus had multiplied a meager amount of food so that it feed a throng of people. Why didn’t the disciples remember that and consider that He would also multiply their one loaf? What made them so thick-headed?

Further down the chapter in verses 27-30 Jesus asked the disciples to tell Him who people said that He is. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the longed-for Jewish Messiah. But when Jesus tells his men that He will be put to death and rise again, Peter once more speaks up and said No, that can’t happen. However, Jesus reprimanded Peter telling him that thought wasn’t from God.

Not long afterward I sat at our breakfast table eating and looking at the fog making the home across the street slightly blurry from our window. Only when I drove to church with about one-half mile visibility did I realize that the disciples saw Jesus through fog. Their minds weren’t yet understanding that Messiah could do anything, even though they’d seen miracles of healing as well as the feedings. In the same way, when Peter proclaimed that Jesus is the Christ, his mind couldn’t grasp the fact that He had to die.

Driving down the state highway to my church this morning I drove in the inside lane to be sure I didn’t come suddenly upon some of the bikers who use the early-morning emptiness of the road as practice lanes. I didn’t want the fog to obscure my vision. In daily life, however, we often run into spiritual fog, just as the first disciples did.

Isaiah 55:9 states that God’s ways and thoughts are tremendously higher than ours, just as the heavens are far higher above the earth. In other words, often we can’t understand our loving Father’s actions or even the way He’s thinking about us because they’re so profound. The spiritual fog keeps us from seeing and understanding our circumstances from His viewpoint.

The next time something in my life doesn’t go the way I think it should, I’ll remember that my Father loves me so very much that He sent His only Son to die for me so I can become His child. God has promised never to leave me or to forsake me, so therefore I can trust His love even when I can’t understand the reasons behind it. I’ll remember that from time to time I meet spiritual fog.

Jesus Is Mine!

A joyful praise song repeatedly says, “Jesus is mine!” That is true if we have accepted Him as our Savior, believing that His death on the cross takes away all our sin and wrong-doing towards God when we confess that wrong. Certainly, we have reason to rejoice in singing that song.

As I sing it, however, I sometimes wonder, “How much of me belongs to Jesus?” Yes, I have salvation and claim Him as my Lord, and a lot of me does belong to Jesus. But how much? 50%, 75%, 90? I know it’s not 100% but admire those people whom I think must belong 100% to Jesus.

I’m sure they also battle at times to stay in that place. We all have human desires that even if nothing is wrong with them, that other things of a spiritual origin are better. For example, how is my time better spent: reading a good fiction novel or reading a Christian book about living a godly life?

These things are the ones I wrestlewith and cause me to ask how much of me belongs to Jesus. Do you have the same issue?

The Sunflower

A man once told my friend, “You’re like a sunflower in a snowstorm.” I thought, “What a compliment!” Later, I started considering this simile. Who’d ever consider seeing a sunflower blooming during a snowstorm? When we lived in Kentucky, snow fell on some blooming crocuses I had. While crocuses bloom in early spring, sunflowers only bloom in the heat, so how could you see one in mid-winter, when you’d expect a snowstorm?

As I pondered more the man’s statement, I considered attributes of my friend. Above all, she was kind to people and refused to get angry when circumstances didn’t work out in her favor. She didn’t try to be the star in the room or expect people to cater to her.

I thought of that statement today in connection with Isaiah 60:1 (New King James) Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

Why should only my friend be told she’s like a sunflower in a snowstorm? If we’re God’s child, shouldn’t we all be that way? Isaiah says we need to shine in a dark world (see verse 2) because the Light already appeared to us. In that way, God’s glory shines upon us. Yes, the world needs believers to reflect the Light of Christ that we already know and to shine through whatever snowstorm or darkness of circumstances we face.

The Assurance of His Love

My husband and I married almost 60 years ago. The assurance of each other’s love kept us together all these years, even when we were selfish about something. God definitely played a big part in this, especially in areas where we disagreed. We both continued faithful to our marriage, no matter what happened. Even when control seemed to rule in my husband’s thoughts, I never doubted his love for me.

In the same way, I’m assured of my heavenly Father’s love for me. Even when I don’t understand his ways with me and with others, I never doubt his love for any of us. Prayers that remain unanswered don’t cause me uncertainty of that care. You might ask, “How can I be so sure?” Just like with my husband’s love, that assurance of God’s love remains deep in my heart. I know that I know both their love, and I never doubt their faithfulness to me.

John 3:16 (Amplified) speaks about that love: For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish but have eternal life.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 (Amplified) states: But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you [setting you on a firm foundation] and will protect you and guard you from the evil one.

Would you give you only child to save someone who committed evil acts? Most likely not and neither would I! While many go to war to protect their country, what God did sealed us from hell’s fiery torment, if we only believe in Jesus. Simply believing Jesus lived a good life on this earth at one point carries no weight with God. Certainly, the devil knows that also.

Awareness of going our own way instead of God’s and trusting that Jesus’ death on the cross exempts us from living a life totally and eternally separated from God. Then we make Jesus our Savior but our Lord as well, doing as He wants instead of going our way.

My prayer for you today is that you’ll be totally assured of your Father’s love.

Lord, I Believe in You!

“Lord, I believe in You, truly believe in You.” We sang this song in church and after getting home, I wondered just how much I do believe in Him. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He lived on earth, died for our sin and rose again to sit at the right hand of Father God.

       For God so loved the world that He gave his only            begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not        perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 New Living              Bible)

I was a child when I first realized that I’d rebelled against God; in fact, it was on Resurrection Sunday when the pastor described how the two thieves, hanging beside Jesus, were guilty. I realized then that though I’d never stolen anything or broken any major commandments, I’d sometimes argued with my brother or not minded my parents. I’d heard about Jesus in church and at home, but I didn’t have a relationship with Him. Even then, I understood that I didn’t really know Jesus or God the Father, not like I knew people. And I knew that had to change, as it did at that moment. Suddenly I knew Jesus lived in my heart as well as in heaven. Specifically, that’s what we say but what really happened is that the Holy Spirit sealed me so that I’d be able to talk with God and go to heaven when I died.

As we approach Resurrection Day or Easter and observe it, I think that song is even more appropriate. Do I really believe all the Bible says about Jesus? The completeness of what He did for us when He died and rose from the dead, lived on earth while many people saw Him, and then He ascended to heaven, where He constantly prays for us at the throne of God? A few scriptures remind me of a bit that Christ provided.

       But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our    sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was    whipped so we could be healed. (Isaiah 53.3)

            He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

Do I really believe God can forgive me, especially if I’ve done a lot of wrong things in my life? Am I honestly confident that He will heal my back and my friend with cancer? Put another way, can I say confidently that I am healed? That my friend is healed, even before we see the results?

I started wondering just how much do I believe God for? Do I really believe He will provide the right job for me when I need one? Do I really believe He will help another friend’s troubled marriage? Do I believe God answers prayers when I pray for my country? In other words, am I confident about these things? Believe means to consider to be true or honest; to accept the word or evidence of. That reminds me of another verse.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1; the New King James uses evidence instead of conviction).

           And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

If my boss tells me he will give me a raise at the end of the month, I believe what he says and begin to get excited about what I can do with the extra money. I have faith that my boss would not say that if it weren’t true. If I can believe a human, how much more should I believe the Lord God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and me! Why do I have so much trouble believing God for other things when I believed Him so easily for my salvation, that He totally forgave me for all the wrongs I’ve ever done, even rebelling against Him? I believe He will continue to forgive me for wrongs when I simply tell Him I’m sorry and stop doing those things.

Our American culture, and especially the last few years, has gone against faith in God, but does that mean I should? Will I believe that the God who created the universe can heal my friend with cancer? That He can provide a job for someone who needs it? That’s what it means to truly trust in God, to rely on Him to provide when no one else can, to believe that He can do what He says He can do. Yes, I trust God to be God! As my faith has grown over the years, I’ve even become more confident in myself because I know who He created me to be and that I am sitting with Christ at the right hand of God, just like the Bible says. If He can do that for me, certainly He can do everything else He says He can. “Lord, I believe in You, truly believe in You.”

           I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 1:19-20)

          For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6)

Do I realize where I’m spiritually living? Not on this earth, though my body is here, but in heaven with Christ because I believe He is who He says He is; so therefore, I am who He says I am!

          “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:20)

          Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26; also, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:27 and Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God.)

As the Bible clearly states, if nothing is impossible with God, then am I fully confident that He will do what He says He will do?

Who Am I?

Do you have low self-esteem? Many of us do, and for most of my life I did. Circumstances work to make us feel this way, though our situations may be far different. What changed? I learned who I am as a child of God. I also learned that I need to reinforce the positives in my life and not the negatives because that gives them more power if I think about them most of the time. If you’re in this condition, you might every day look in the mirror and repeat the following:

 When I confess Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I am saved from sin and have eternal life with God. (Romans 6:23, 10:9; John 17:3)

 When I confess my sins, they are forgiven by God. (Hebrews 8:12, 10:17; 1 John 1:9)

 All my forgiven sins are far from God’s remembrance. (Psalm 103:12)

 I am a beloved daughter/son of the Lord God Almighty. (Romans 5:8; 1 John 6:10)

 I am worthy because Christ died for me. (Romans 8:32; 1 John 4:10)

 When I feel guilty for past sins after I earnestly confess them, Satan is lying to me because I am no longer condemned by God for them. (Romans 8:1)

 God is for me! (Romans 8:31)

 God has promised me good and not evil, and He works for my good. (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:28)

 God will hear me when I pray to Him. (Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 66:17-19)

 No one can take me away from God. (John 10:38; Romans 8:38 & 39)

 God knows me intimately. (Psalm 139:1-16)

 God chose me and has a purpose for my life. (Jeremiah 1:5; John 15:16)

 God gave me a spiritual gift to be used to glorify Him and help others. (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1 & 4-12, 14:1-6; Ephesians 4:11-12)

 I am not worse or below others, but I am not better than others either. (Romans 12:3)

An old saying tells us that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. This means that we are all equal because God has no favorites. He loves everyone the same, and that is what gives us our worth: that He loved us enough to send Jesus to pay the death penalty for our sins. Therefore, we rejoice because we are the beloved daughters and sons of the Lord Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth.

Poem for Those Who’ve Lost Loved Ones This Year

Several of my friends have lost loved ones this year, and I dedicate this poem to them. Some years ago God gave me this idea of the joy those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior and are children of our Father experience when entering heaven. I cannot say this reality fits all who pass this life, for regrettably they turned their backs on the One who could give them this new life. The Gospel of John tells us much about this decision we must make while still alive.

John calls Satan a thief in John 10:10 and we’re told the different purposes he has in our lives and Jesus has for our lives. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they have life and have [it] abundantly.”

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and in 1 John 3:8 we read, “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus therefore tells us that Satan wants only our harm, but He came to bless us.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me’” in John 14:6. The thick veil in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem being torn apart from top to bottom when Jesus died indicates that the way for us to know God as our Father is no longer through following laws and rituals but through simply recognizing Jesus as the One who makes us clean before God so we can become His children.

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Many people recognize John 3:16 probably more than any other verse in the Bible unless it’s Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my Shepherd.”

We hardly hear, however, of verses 17-18 in John 3 which say, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Finally, Ezekiel 18:23 records God saying, “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?”

If anyone does not realize that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for all you’ve done wrong so you can become a child of God, then I ask you to please contact me or talk with someone who is a believer and find out how when you die, you can go to heaven and know the great joy that this poem discusses, plus so much more than words can express.

My Destiny

Joy unspeakable!
How can I describe this blessedness?
So far surpassing all I imagined
The greatest words cannot do it justice.

“What joy,” you ask,
“What brings such rapture?”

The sight of my Jesus’ face!
How can I picture such love
Such compassion, even for me?
What word describes His glory?
The glory of the only begotten Son!

Then I see my Father!
My Daddy-God.
The tears fall down my face
Tears of humility, adoration and love.
I kneel at His feet and worship
Almighty God!

No eye has seen
No ear has heard
No mind has conceived
What God has prepared
For those who love Him.
(1 Corinthians 2:9)

I cannot tell you all this wonder;
Truly, you must see it for yourself!
 

God Became Human!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men….And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-4, 14 NASB).

The wonderful message of Christmas in a nutshell is that God became human! Though we may not fully understand it, God is undivided in thought or action, yet is three distinct persons with separate functions: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

The Father did not become incarnate. The Holy Spirit only came to live in people’s hearts after Jesus’ resurrection and ascent into heaven. For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11). Jesus the Son is the one who was born as a baby and lived on earth in a human body, died, was resurrected and ascended into heaven.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God became  human with all the feelings, thoughts and needs we have. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

God became human! May the wonder and blessing of this thought be with you throughout the Christmas Season.

Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!

Receiving God’s Love

God, I don’t really know how to approach You, but a person told me You loved me. Really loved me so much that You gave up your Son on my behalf. Now that’s really hard to believe! I mean, I’m not a good person, so why would You love me or do anything for me?

I’ve been in a deep, deep pit for most of my life. Wanting out but not even knowing how to try to get out. It seemed the harder I tried, the deeper I went. I can’t imagine anyone doing me any favors. No one ever has, so why should You?

But this person told me Jesus loves me and actually suffered all your hatred of my wrong ways, and now I’m free to have a good life, if I only believe that Jesus did this for me. Not only that, but I can become your child. Seems strange for an adult to become someone’s child, even God’s. I didn’t even know my own parents, and my childhood certainly wasn’t something I’d want anyone else to experience.

God, I don’t quite understand all this, but I’m trying. I do believe what I was told that Jesus suffered all your fury for all the horrible things I’ve done. I want to become a different person, a person who can do good for others. I don’t know how I could do anything good for someone; but the person who told me about you, said that I’d find things I could do that would help others. I’d like to be that way – helping people instead of all the evil I’ve done in the past. God, forgive me for all that stuff!

I’ve been rotten and don’t see how anybody could want me, much less You, God. But that’s what I was told, and something happened in my heart at those words. Somehow, I believed them, and they made me smile. I haven’t smiled in a long, long time. I can’t explain it, but something happened, and all the heaviness, anger and bitterness just melted away. Why, I feel like a new person; almost like a little baby just finding out what’s happening in the world and how to adjust to it. Just learning how to be loved, not by a person, but by You, God. Amazing!

Thank you, God, for doing whatever You did to make me feel this way, to give me this joy and this newfound hope. Thank You that Jesus suffered all your wrath over my evil deeds, so I can become a person who’s able to talk with You, to have a relationship with You. God, You are awesome! I just realized that if I’m your child, then You are my Father. What an amazing idea! I’ve never had a father, and now the God of all the universe is my Father. I’m so thankful for this person who told me about You because You have changed my life. You made me a new person, and I love You. I just discovered that: I love You because of what You have done for me. Thank You, Father! Thank You, Jesus!

Prayer for Those with Debilitating Diseases

(This prayer is for three people close to my heart, but I extend it to others in this situation.)

Father, my heart hurts for people close to me who are enduring debilitating diseases that Satan has inflicted upon them. I know many others face the same or different issues, all of which prove difficult to cure. Only you can touch these loved ones and heal them, Father. Whether you use doctors and medicine or whether You divinely heal them, I pray you touch their lives.

In the meanwhile, give them peace in the journey; comfort them in pain; let them know you stand beside them and your Spirit within them each moment of the day and night.

Father, you know each of their life situations, and I lift those up to you, for you alone know what each one needs at this very moment and in the coming days as they walk through these life-changing challenges. Give them courage, strength, energy, hope and peace. Let them know your very real presence upon them.

Father, if I could, I’d instantly remove each of these illnesses from them; but I can’t. I know you can. That is not a difficult thing for you, Daddy-God! However, sometimes you allow us to walk through these challenges, teaching us more about you along the way. I pray each one learns the lessons you have for them during this time, drawing them ever closer to you, Holy God.

I pray your glory comes out of these situations in whatever way you choose. May you be honored and exalted; and may all these close to me – and others also – have a greater testimony of your mercy and grace in the future than they do presently.

Father, I love and exalt you, for you alone are holy, high and worthy of worship.  You sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins and our healing, as the Bible says in 1 Peter 2:24 (NASB) “He Himself [Jesus] bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by His wounds you were healed.” In Jesus’ precious and holy name, I ask for your mercy, Holy God. Amen.

Abba, I Belong to You

As my church sang the song Abba[1], I thought in a way I hadn’t previously – yes, I do belong to my Father. That thought struck deep in my heart. I “BELONG” to my Daddy-God. He sacrificed so very much by sending Jesus to die so I could become His child. They both paid with all they had for my eternal life with them and so that here on earth I can have an intimate relationship with my Father God, Jesus Christ my Savior and the Holy Spirit. I am a daughter loving my Father because He first loved me.

First John 4:18-19 (The Message Bible) reminds us: There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life — fear of death, fear of judgment — is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love — love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.

I like to call my heavenly Father Daddy-God. The word Abba means an intimate relationship, as a child might say Daddy today or as an adult might say Father. My earthly dad and I had a very good relationship, so I don’t have the major roadblocks some people do who didn’t know their earthly fathers or had abusive ones. I appreciate the freedom this gives me to relate more easily to God than some can.

Someone might ask who a small child belongs to, meaning their parents. That parent has responsibility to take care of and protect that child; he educates and trains the child, as well as providing food, shelter and clothes for her. In the same way, our heavenly Father takes care me, His child, so I do belong to Him, not including the tremendous price He paid for me.

As I thought more about belonging to my Father, I realized that makes it easier for me to resist any temptation that comes my way. I don’t belong to the devil, so I can stand against him and not give in to whatever he puts in front of me. I count on the blessings of my inheritance as a child of God and don’t need anything that will lead me away from those blessings.

Satan may approach me with wrong thoughts or actions, trying to lure me that way. Some of these God emphasized No to – There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Other times my enemy surprises me with those little nagging inclinations that aren’t wrong in themselves but are still activities where I know I need to limit the time I spend with them.

I thought of this verse, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2a NASU.)

I walk along the beach, paying attention to the gulls and other shorebirds. Further down children build sand castles and grab my attention. Suddenly I realize I’ve stepped into a cast net left carelessly behind and my sandals become tangled in it. I almost fall because I wasn’t paying attention.

That’s what the Hebrews verse warns me of – not paying attention when a temptation comes, or I’ll stumble into it without realizing it’s even there. One of those little things that isn’t bad itself but that I have to control is watching too much TV at night instead of studying my Bible or reading godly books. Nothing is wrong with the shows themselves, I just must not let them dominate all my time when I have instructive books to read or a Bible study I didn’t have time for during the day. I like to start my day with Bible reading and prayer, but often don’t have time before breakfast for real study.

Because I belong to Father God, I put on the spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-18[2]). This armor covers me from head to toe in front, but safety only comes when I’m fighting. God gives me no protection if I’m running away. Watchful prayer guards me from Satan’s snares so I don’t step into that cast net. I pray with and for others to give and receive mutual support as the body of Christ on earth.

Fortunately, when I do get caught up in temptation, there’s a way back to the loving relationship with my Daddy-God. First John 1:9 (Message) encourages us:  If we admit our sins — make a clean breast of them — he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. My Father doesn’t hold a grudge! He wants our rapport flowing full of love more than I do, so as soon as I honestly turn away from the wrong I’ve done, He’s quick to forgive me and take up where we left off in our relationship.

Abba, I belong to You – now and forever!

____________________
[1] Abba (Arms of a Father)
>Jonathan David & Melissa Helser

You’re more real than the ground I’m standing on
You’re more real than the wind in my lungs
Your thoughts define me
You’re inside me
You’re my reality

Abba, I belong to You 

You’re closer than the skin on my bones
You’re closer than the song on my tongue
You came running down my prodigal road
You came running with a ring and a robe
Grace is the collision on the way back home
With the arms of a Father who won’t let go

Songwriters: Ed Cash / Jonathan David Helser
Abba (Arms of a Father) lyrics © Bethel Music Publishing

 

 

[2] Ephesians 6:10-18: And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. 11 So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. 12 This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. 14 Truth, righteousness, 15 peace, 16 faith, 17 and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. 18 In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

 

God’s Word in My Heart

Father, I pray that you open my eyes to see your Word in new and fresh ways; help me understand exactly what You’d have me apply to my life today. Give me wisdom as I read this precious gift carefully and thoughtfully. I know I have much to learn from You, but I don’t always take the time to dwell on what I read and fully apply it to my life. Sometimes I read and appreciate what the Bible says; but then my busy day starts, and I never get back to thinking more about it. My mind always finds other things, even TV or other trivial matters to consider, forgetting what You said to me that morning.

Lord, I know that Psalm 19:11 (NASB*) says, “Your word have I treasured in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Therefore, I must consider the Bible as precious and not read it quickly, just to get the job done. That’s no way to consider what You say to me; no, I must treat it as a very special message.

Other versions say, “I have hidden your word” or “I have stored up your word.” I learned the KJV* of “Thy word have I hid in my heart,” and through the years I have hidden much of it there. But the NASB* says, “I have treasured your word,” which makes me more fully realize the importance of not only reading, or even understanding, God’s Word but seeking it as a rich treasure and then putting it in a vault in my heart so no one can steal it. I also like the “stored up” version. That makes me think of what I meditate on one day I add to what I’ve processed in the past. I don’t simply read the Bible one day and forget it before the next reading; I add to my knowledge and love of God’s Word each time I hear or read it.

That’s the importance I need to give your Word as I read it daily. Father, how wonderful, to be able to access this great gift wherever I am, even on my phone or computer! Different translations help me better understand what the original languages meant to people long ago, so I can apply them today. Although customs are far different, love is still love, and our greatest two commandments still say to love God and love others. Cruel treatment of another remains wrong, even though the types of cruelty differ. Putting someone or something above You qualifies as idolatry, even though we don’t make gold or silver images.

Teach me, Lord God, to treasure to a new depth your holy Word. Though it, You instruct me to apply your principles today so I live a more fulfilled life, no matter what age I am. Thank you, heavenly Father, for the precious gift of the Bible.
_______

* KJV: King James Version; NASB: New American Standard Bible.

Who Is Jesus to Me?

Recently in church we sang songs talking about who Jesus is: our way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper. You wipe away our tears, mend broken hearts, touch every life, heal our diseases, meet every need. Jesus is the Light in the darkness; his blood transforms my life, brings the dead to life, is sufficient for me. He is the highest power so that I am no longer bound to sin and am free!

The Bible assures us Jesus and now the Holy Spirit working in us, fulfills all these vital roles. But do we really trust Him to do these things? To meet our needs, to heal our diseases, to mend our broken hearts?

In Luke 5:1-11, Jesus tells Simon (later called Peter) to put his fishing net on the other side of the boat. Even though these professional fishermen had fished all night and caught nothing, Simon said he would, and he caught so many fish that his nets almost broke, so he called his partners to help catch all the fish. Am I  as willing to do what Jesus tells me to do, even if it doesn’t make sense to me?

Jesus quotes Isaiah 61:1-2 in Luke 4:18-19 (NASB): The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.

Are we not financially poor but spiritually poverty-stricken because we haven’t heard of the rescue from eternal death that Jesus came to give us, as well as abundancy in this life? Are we bound in captivity to style, pride or insecurity? Do we have physical infirmities? Are we oppressed by addiction, co-dependency or other issues? This is the year of redemption from all that! Jesus wants to set us free from the dominion these conditions have in our lives so that we have heart-peace and joy in our spirits.

We sing songs with joy about Jesus providing all we need and read the Bible with all His miracles, claiming we believe it. But when the test comes, do I really? Do I depend on my Father God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit to keep promises to me? Have I checked first to see if conditions exist to gain those promises? Do I really understand who Jesus wants to be for me? Am I willing to let Him change my life dramatically, so He can be?

We must question ourselves and ask repeatedly, “Who is Jesus to me?” Am I letting Him be all He wants to be? What is holding me back? Investigate this!

I Sing to You

I sing to You because You are beautiful
I sing to You because You are holy
High and lifted up –
Above all that ever was
Above all that is now
Above all the skies
Deeper than the deepest ocean
That’s less than you are – far less –
But it gives me an idea of just how immensely large You are
But just an idea.
 
Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent –
The words ring true for You
But I’m too small to understand them.
 
Lord, I’m amazed in your presence
I can’t grasp just who You are
But speak to my spirit
Reveal more of yourself to me.
 
Open my eyes to better see glimpses of Holy You
Impress on my heart just who You are
Teach me a righteous fear of You
Teach me your holiness and glory
Let me see You through the clouds and midst
Give me clear vision!

Seeing God on His Throne

Father, I praise and worship You. I bow down before You because You are exalted above all the earth, all the heavens, and all under the earth. Angles worship You; demons fear You. Only mankind dares to ignore You. But I’ve experienced You; I know You. I believe your Word and follow it. I desire to always do your will, but I face battles with myself first of all. Good things but not holy things pull me from You. The worldly culture tries to turn me in that direction, and Satan pulls at my mind and my flesh not to follow You.

Then I see Jesus standing at my heart’s door, knocking to come into those secret places that I’ve hidden from him. Those places I don’t even recognize myself as being walled off from Him. Even though they’re hidden from me, He sees them and asks me to give them as a sacrifice. I tell my Lord that as He reveals them, I’ll lay them on His cross.

Christ says He doesn’t want 75% of my life; He desires 100%. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mark 12:30 NASB).

Only as we’re willing to come to that place – not of pain and sacrifice – but of joy and righteousness – can we fully enter into Isaiah’s worship of chapter 6:1-8. We see the Lord in more of his fullness than we have previously, and we realize anew how very holy He is, that even the angels continually minister praise, honor and glory to Him. When we see God like this, we realize how much we owe Him and rejoice, bowing before Him. We confess any sin we’ve overlooked beforehand and surrender to His will in all things. We give our Lord our spirits, as well as our minds, will, emotions and bodies. We say, Here I am, send me.

The Tumbleweed

Tumbleweeds. Perhaps you’ve never seen a real one. My father liked to watch westerns on TV, and quite often a tumbleweed would blow across the street. I saw my first ones when we drove through the Texas panhandle going to Colorado or Wyoming during December. When we made that trip in June, I didn’t know which plants were tumbleweeds because they have flowers and don’t show their characteristic tumbling. Only in late fall do they die, the roots separate from the plant and wind blows them wherever it wants. Why do tumbleweeds tumble? Because they broadcast their seeds over acres of land that way.

A few days ago I saw on Facebook the life of a tumbleweed. When it said at the end that when the plant dies, the wind can blow to spread its seeds, suddenly Galatians 2:20 popped into my mind. What? I’m looking at the story of a tumbleweed on Facebook fondly remembering the times we saw them and scripture interrupts my thoughts? Yes, the Holy Spirit immediately awakened me to the context of this plant dying and becoming fruitful.

 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels – a plentiful harvest of new lives (John 12:24.)

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20 New Living Translation.)

 The more our old inner nature of sin dies, the greater Christ through the Holy Spirit will live in us. Then we’ll bear a good harvest of fruit for the Lord.

My Prayer

Father, I love You, but it’s such a small insignificant amount compared to how You love me. Teach me how to love You more. Give me a fiery, burning love for You that will never lessen or be quenched.

You are so almighty, all-powerful, mountainous, marvelous, without any kind of defect or lessening. You are all-in-all! Nothing and no one compares to You. You were before all and will endure for everlasting. All-powerful Creator of all that exists. You always were; You always will be.

In spite of all your marvelous might, You love me. You cherish me. You forgive me! Even when I miss opportunities to worship You or to magnify your name, your love never fails. You are merciful to me and compassionate. You see my broken heart and bring me peace and joy. You give me strength when I am weak. You direct my steps with your eye. You protect me from the evil one and show me how to stand strong against him. You teach my hands to war against him. You surround me with your love and sing over me.

And Father, what You do for me, You will surely do for another. You have no favorites. You gave your Son to die for each person in the world, so surely You would love them as well. You teach me how to love others as You have loved me. Indeed, without knowing your love for me, it’s difficult to fully love others unselfishly, without an agenda, even when we don’t recognize it.

Father, You amaze me and I thank You. I’m eternally grateful to You. I bow down and worship You and sing your praises. You are my God. Teach me to love You more. Amen.

Our Daddy-God Is Faithful!

 Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

 Old Faithful Geyser continually erupts every day and night, all year round, never missing a time. Eruptions occur about every 70-90 minutes with park rangers giving an estimate, but only that. A tall gusher reaches close to 200 feet but often follows a shorter one.

My husband and I have watched this fascinating sight many times with a couple of thousand people in late June or have seen it a few times by ourselves in December, always special to behold. The first winter I saw it, while mentally knowing Old Faithful blew all year, surprised me when I realized this great display happened with no one watching. Of course, I knew the Park didn’t turn it on for visitors, but a sudden realization hit me that it doesn’t depend on what people do.

In the same way, I think we often think God’s faithfulness depends on how “good” we are. We’ve read the Bible that says He remains with us at all seasons. During crisis times, however, we might feel like the harsh reality of winter hit and wonder if our loving Father knows our situation, just as I realized afresh that Old Faithful operates with no spectators as well as thousands. These times call for us to draw closer to our Daddy-God so we do realize He’s present. Often we tend to pull away in unbelief, but that hinders our remaining steady during the crisis.

Reviewing God’s Word helps me hold onto my faith in difficult circumstances, and these verses promise our Father’s faithfulness to us forever. All Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible.

Deuteronomy 32:3-4: For I proclaim the name of the Lord; Ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.

Psalm 36:5: Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

John 14:16-18: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.

Hebrews 13:5-6: He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?” [Their emphasis.]

You might wonder why I call the Father of Christ-followers “Daddy-God.” In the New Testament, Jesus used this very term of intimacy when He prayed before the crucifixion. Since we are God’s children, He desires us to have this same intimacy with Him. “Abba” translates to our word “Daddy.”

Mark 14:36: And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”

Romans 8:15-16: For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

Galatians 4:6-7: Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore, you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

Yes, circumstances may go from bad to worse, but consider what our loving Father did: He gave his own beloved Son to die for us so we could be his children. Certainly then, He remains faithful to us throughout our lives. Situations make no difference. Our Daddy-God loves us!

 

Praises to My God

(A word of explanation: The last couple of weeks at the night services, my church has been giving us time to sit still before God and simply listen to what He says to us.This is what He spoke to me.)

 The Opening

 The mighty rushing wind of your Holy Spirit comes in and sweeps away all fears, all doubts, all hesitancy, all reluctance. That wind sweeps away all but your sweet, gentle voice, and I hear You say, “Come to me, my child. Sit beside me and learn who I am. For I am gentle and loving. I bring you comfort and security. My love for you is boundless.

Praises to My Lord God Almighty

I sing to You because You are beautiful
I sing to You because You are holy
High and lifted up:

Above all that ever was
Above all that is now
Above all that ever will be
Above all the skies
Deeper than the deepest ocean.

That’s less than You are – far less –
But it gives me an idea of just how immensely large You are.
But just an idea.
Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent.
The words ring true for You
But I’m too small to understand them.

Lord, I’m amazed in your presence.
I can’t grasp just who You are
But speak to my spirit
Reveal more of yourself to me.

Open my eyes to better see glimpses of Holy You
Impress on my heart just who You are
Teach me a righteous fear of You.
Teach me of your holiness and glory
Let me see You through the clouds and midst
Give me clear vision.

Holy Lord God Almighty,
Continue to open my eyes more each day
Until I see You completely
In all your glory and holiness.

I sing to You because You are beautiful
I sing to You because You are holy
High and lifted up; glorious beyond compare
I sing to You until I shall see You face to face
And then I’ll bow and worship You as never before!

   
Second Praise 

Oh holy, holy God
I worship and adore You
For You first loved me
You taught me what love is.

You’ve carried me in the night seasons
And rejoiced with me in the joyous times.
Whatever my circumstances
Wherever I’ve been –
You have been there too.

You’ve guided me with your eye
And when I wasn’t paying attention
You guided me with your hand.

Holy, Precious Father!
There is no one like You
I love and adore You
For there’s no one like You.

Father, your love amazes me
It lifts my heart high
Even when I’m down
Your love draws me high.

Your love is secure
You will not fail
Even when I neglect You
Your love continues true.

But Lord, my heart’s desire is to ever draw closer
Closer to your love
Closer to your holiness
Closer to your glory.

Father, I long to reflect my Jesus
Just as the moon reflects the sun
I long to look more like Jesus
And reflect Him to the world.

Amen.