Tag Archives: God

The God Who Loves

I received an invitation that reminded me of a painful incident from my youth. I prayed:


“Jesus, You were there when it happened. You longed to quiet my pain, but I thought I had to handle it myself. Why couldn’t I receive Your love and comfort? Perhaps back then I knew You only as a far-away God or as a Spirit who didn’t enter the reality of my daily teenage world.


“But now I know You better. You are Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth. You are also the God who loves each person You created. You see us, not just as a group, but also as individuals.
“And You are the God of all comfort, the God who knows when a sparrow falls and who counts the stars and yet also knows the ever-changing number of hairs on my head.” (See 2 Corinthians 1:3, Matthew 10:29-30, Psalm 147:4.)

Dear Lord Jesus, Savior, Friend,
I want to sing Your praise again.
You are my life, my God, my King,
Ruler over everything.

Jesus, You are all I need.
I want to learn Your voice to heed
So I can walk in Your good plan,
Son of God and Son of Man.

Anger tries to push You off Your throne.
Bitterness turns my heart to stone
I reject these things that cling to me
And accept Your offer to set me free.

O Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Cleanse and heal and make me whole,
As I repent and seek Your face
And the kingdom of Your grace. Amen.
(See Ephesians 4:31.)

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Still Learning

Journey toward Wholeness Re-blog #16, December 23, 2020 (First Published March 28, 2018)

Day by day, I’m still learning on this journey toward wholeness. I struggle with lessons in many areas including the area of corralling wild thoughts. Thankfully, God hasn’t given up on me.

The “wild thoughts” don’t cause as big a problem now as they did a couple of years back. At that time, one thought triggered others which went in a dozen different directions–all scary or sad. I remembered a phrase from 2 Corinthians 10:5, “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.” The New Living Translation puts the phrase into these words: “We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” I couldn’t seem to capture my rebellious, tangled thinking. But I’m learning–

Medicine helps. Practicing focus on verses or passages of the Bible helps. Also prayer, And just speaking the thought or thoughts out loud and saying, “Jesus, I’m bringing this thought/ these thoughts captive to You. Please help me now to think about things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8)”–this makes a difference sometimes too.

(Mountain Goats near a trail we hiked)

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In His Hands

(JOURNEY TOWARD WHOLENESS POST REBLOG #14)     8/19/20

One day as I traversed part of Anxiety Valley, I wrote in my journal:

           Jesus, You know me (Psalm 139) and You walk and talk with me—in reality, not just imagination. You are here. I will trust in You. Please help me believe and trust You more. You gave me a good night’s sleep last night in answer to my prayer. Thank You. I pray that I would always be grateful for all your good gifts.

In anxious times, doubts attack. Like I get afraid that God might expect me to do everything “right,” and I wouldn’t know what right was or how to do it. This line from a Carroll Roberson song might help me relax: “He did for me what I could not do for myself. He did the saving, and I did the crying for help.” Oh. Right. I’m not in charge. I don’t have to be in control.

Lord God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, it comforts me to remember that I’m in Your hands. Nothing can pry me loose from Your hands. Not even my failures and poor choices can loosen Your grip on me. When fear or self-focus blocks my view of You, You are still here. You don’t quit loving me. You never give up on me.

Thank You, Lord, for your unfailing, everlasting, unbreakable love. Amen.

Psalm 73:22-23 “I was a fool and didn’t understand; I was an unthinking animal toward You. Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand.”

John 10:27-30 [Jesus said,] “My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

Psalm 139:5 “You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.”

Psalm 139:7 “Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?”

Deuteronomy 33:3 “Indeed God loves His people; all His holy ones are in His hands. They follow in His steps and accept His teaching.”

(Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible except for Ps. 139:7 which is from the New Living Translation)

 

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Doing Good Things

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT).

This verse says that all of us who are new in Christ can do the good things God planned long ago for us to do. I wonder what those things are.

I used to think they were big things like preaching, prophesying, or doing miracles. I didn’t do big things like that, so I feared that I missed doing the good works God prepared ahead of time for me to do. But maybe God’s good plans include smaller, less noticeable acts. It could be that He plans for me to show kindness and mercy, forgive those who offend me, help meet another person’s need, write a devotional blog, or pray for a friend (or an enemy).

As I seek to follow Jesus, He shows me good things I can do.

(Painting by Renoir titled “Girls at the Piano” is Public Domain from: https://www.wpclipart.com/ )

 

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Learning in the Struggle – Journey Reblog #12

At one time when my anxiety symptoms intensified, I reached out for help. Through a series of misunderstandings, I ended up spending a night in a “suicide watch” unit, even though suicide has never been an issue for me. But while I was there, I met a young mother who had tried to take her own life. I wished I knew how to help her.

Since then I’ve learned of others with similar struggles. I prayed privately for one young woman: “Father, she can’t seem to grasp how much You love her or how precious she is to You or how faithful and mighty You are or how You are for her and not against her. Please help her.”

2015 San Francisco, CA

 

I understand where she’s coming from. I remember when I went through my own storm of anxiety. My troubled mind latched onto doubts and let truth slip out of my hands. I wrote wonderful verses in my journal, like Romans 5:5, “…For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Also, Psalm 56:9, “…This I know: God is on my side.” (Both are New Living Translation) Still I felt unable to trust and believe the truth.

Doubt pointed at me (and my focus followed his pointing finger) and whined: These things are true for others, but maybe not for me. I don’t have as much faith as other people. I might not love God enough, or perhaps I’m not good enough. There could be conditions on these promises that I’m not meeting.”

Two things that helped me were getting proper medication and understanding that I could choose to believe God no matter how I felt. Now that storm has passed, and I’m learning to turn my gaze away from me and back to God. It occurred to me that whatever I’m lacking, He is great enough to make up for. He calls me to believe Him, trust Him, and rest in Him.

 

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Paths of Peace

Speaking to his infant son John (John the Baptist), Zechariah said, “[You will give the Messiah’s] people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins…[and the Messiah will] guide our feet into paths of peace.”

Thank You, Jesus, for guiding my feet into paths of peace.

When I go Your way regarding anxiety, I receive peace beyond understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). If I trust You and anchor my mind in You, You keep me in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). You give real peace, not the shaky peace the world gives (John 14:27).

Jesus, You tell me not to let my heart be troubled or afraid. Sometimes I think I can’t prevent my heart from being troubled and afraid. But the truth is that with Your Holy Spirit in me, I have all the power I need to choose obedience, trust and peace instead of fear, agitation and anxiety.

Yes, thank You, Lord, for Your guidance into pathways of peace.

Amen.

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The All-Sufficient Cross of Christ

This devotional by our pastor Randy Huddleston spoke to my heart, and I have his permission to share it with you.

The All-Sufficient Cross of Christ

Prepare yourself, take off your shoes because you are entering holy ground.

Sacrifice, selflessness, supreme, surprising, suffering, the Son of God nailed to a cross to die.

The injured party in the human drama was God.  His joy and desire were to delight in the people he had made, but they turned on him and aligned themselves with his archenemy.  God was stabbed in the back.  The relationship was broken, and separation led to consequences for the hurt they had done.  This was no small thing like spilled milk; this was the breakdown of divine and human connection, love, and the journey together.  That brilliant, beautiful pair’s act of rebellion rippled like a tsunami across the created order affecting the animate and inanimate.  It has come to you as part of creation and as a son or daughter of Adam and Eve.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Romans 5:12 (NLT2)

Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. Romans 8:20-21 (NLT2)

A solution was needed to sin, curse, and death.  Neither human philosophy, self-made religion, or holier-than-thou living would be the solution.  The solution had to come from above, and God provided it.  He sent his Son.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 (NLT2)

Jesus, the God-man, Son of God, who lived a perfect and blameless life, humbled himself to be the sacrifice, the sufficient sacrifice to pay the penalty of sin.  No other could do it.  He knew the importance of what he did.  His suffering and death were not to impress or please you but to provide justice before the Supreme Court of Highest Heaven.  If the requirements of the highest law and Lawgiver were not met, there would be no future for humanity or this universe.  Jesus on the cross was the all-sufficient, permanent, and perfect payment.  He changed everything.

Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 (NLT2)

Adam freely took from the tree and disobeyed God leading to death.  Jesus willingly gave himself on the tree and fully obeyed God even to death.  Adam’s death led to death for all.  Jesus’ death leads to life.

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18 (NLT2)

Jesus’ death on the cross did it, once for all, no need for continued animal sacrifices.  Jesus’ cross was God’s plan, and when it was finished, people could have new life in him.  Trying to earn points to get into God’s good graces is of no value by comparison to the once for all sacrifice of Christ.  Salvation is only by God’s grace; no one can earn it by what they think is good.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT2)

  • Have you ever considered Jesus’ death on the cross insufficient and tried to do good things to be saved? 
  • No other historical event has done more to set people free than this one selfless solitary sacrifice on the cross.  Has the cross of Christ enthralled you?

Copyright © 2020 Grace Bible Church, All rights reserved.

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Our Tailor’s Pattern

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern,…just so you shall make it.’” (Exodus 25:1, 8-9 NKJV)

God is shaping me according to the pattern of Christ.

Like a tailor, He cuts away the material that doesn’t fit the pattern. As I yield to His work, things like bad attitudes, jealousy, outbursts of anger, impurity, quarreling and other sins can be discarded. (See Galatians 5:19-21.) Also, all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander must be snipped off and trashed (Ephesians 4:31).

Then His Spirit removes and adds and shapes (when I obey Him) so I match Christ’s likeness. Colossians 3:9-10, Amplified, says, “Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old (unregenerate) self with its evil practices, and have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.”

Finally, as a quilter would, He fits me together with other believers to make for Himself a work of both function and beauty. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

Thank You, God. Amen.

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Unfailing Love

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:14 NIV)

Yes, Holy Lord, please satisfy me with Your unfailing, eternal, love this morning! Your love fills my longing soul with Yourself. It oozes the oil of joy which begins to restore the broken places in my heart. Then I will sing because I can enter the day believing I am undeniably loved by You, Lord–amazing, awesome God. With a full heart, I can give instead of grab, serve rather than seek service, and love others, not try to use them. And because Your love never fails, I can be glad every day forever.

Thank You for Your unfailing love, Lord! I could never deserve it, but You offer it in Jesus. Please help me open my eyes to perceive more of it. Amen.

(Pinterest)

Psalm 89:1 NIV “I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.”

“Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,sing his mercy and his grace….”(From the hymn “When We All Get to Heaven”)

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Hope in the Lord

(Picture from Pintrest)

“I try to take one day at a time, but lately several days have attacked me at once,” so the poster said. I laughed because on some days it does seem like life is like that. On those days, maybe I could take some tips from the Psalms:

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God…!
Psalm 62:1, 5 “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.”
Psalm 100:3 “Acknowledge that the Lord is God…!”
Psalm 131:2 “I will calm and quiet myself like a weaned child with its mother.”

And I could remember Isaiah 40:31 “Those who wait on the Lord renew their strength….”
Oh, may I remember to put these verses into practice next time I feel overwhelmed!

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