Tag Archives: Love

Value on the Journey–Journey to Wholeness Reblog 13

Can any good come from overwhelming panic feelings? Yes, but you couldn’t have convinced me of that when I struggled with them day after day for a few months. One day, I wrote this in my journal:

‘“In Your unfailing love, silence all my enemies and destroy all my foes, for I am Your servant.’ –Psalm 143:12 New Living Translation

“Lord, I wake up each night in panic after sleeping only a couple of hours. And when I get back to sleep, again I wake up in about 2 hours. Then I wake up each morning in panic. I try to hold onto Your unfailing love, to Your faithfulness, but the fears overwhelm. Please help me!”

Then 3 hours later I wrote, “The anxiety continues to overwhelm. I remember some lines from a Chris Christian song: ‘Don’t give up; don’t give in. Give it all to Him cause He cares so much more than you know….’*

“How do I give it all to You, Lord? I reached my hands up and said, ‘I give this anxiety to You.’ I still feel anxious. But maybe my feelings are lying to me again.”

Today on my journey, though, I can look back and see that in that time of misery, God worked in my heart. He prepared the soil. He planted seedlings like greater humility and deeper trust in Him. In the time since those months of difficulty, I have seen God’s seedlings grow. Patience flowers bloom. Fruits of faithfulness and joy develop.

So I can encourage those Christians who struggle today: God is holding you close. He is working. He will bring you through this wilderness, even as He has brought many others through their rough seasons.

To those who have never made Jesus their choice, could He be calling you with your current troubles? Jesus makes all of life, even problems, worthwhile.

*Chris Christian, “Look How Far You’ve Come” from the album Mirror of Your Heart. You Tube video of song at: https://youtu.be/M13Ex3_yeYE?t=8

(Post originally published October 6, 2018)

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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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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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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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A Kind Gift

At one point on our trip to Pennsylvania, we hit some traffic cones with our car and knocked the front lower bumper fascia loose. The accident also bent the left front wheel well liner down so that it scraped against the wheel. We stopped and my husband bent that part back out of the way. He said he would need a “wire tie wrap” to secure the other part.

After a few miles, we stopped at a gas station for fuel. At the next pump, a young man pulled up who “happened” to have the tie wraps, the necessary Phillips screwdriver, and the experience and expertise (having “worked on these things before”) to get the bumper fascia fixed up right. Amazing!

Even if we had tried, we couldn’t have thought of and arranged such delightfully perfect help. It was a kind gift from our loving heavenly Father. Thank You, Lord!

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17 NKJV)

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Journey Reblog 5 – Stepping Stones in the Valley

Reblogged August 14, 2019

God gave me “stepping stones” amid the muck of physical symptoms, doubts, and fears in Anxiety Valley. They didn’t make me feel any less anxious, but they helped me get through the days of struggle. Here are a few I wrote down:

  1. Psalm 116:1, 5, 7 (New Living Translation): “I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.” “5 How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!” “7 Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me.”

I will believe God’s love. Then my soul can rest because in believing I remember God’s goodness and His presence with me. I choose to believe Him instead of listening to the lying anxiety feelings.

Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Holman Christian Standard Bible).

  1. I love God. I want to love Him more. I want to grow in knowledge and discernment and depth of insight so I can know what is best and what really matters. (Philippians 1:9-10 “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return” New Living Translation.)

 

  1. Father, You have sent help. Praise music and Your Word offer comfort. You said that You will never fail or forsake me (Joshua 1:5 and Hebrews 13:5). You have promised, and You are faithful (Hebrews 10:23). You sent the pastor and the counselor. You even provided a calmative medicine to help me get through this. You gave me friends and family and church family who love and support me. And the devotional readings! Some seem especially appropriate on the particular days they show up in my e-mail.

Thank You, Lord, for all these expressions of Your love and grace. Amen.

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Redeemed

In the book of Hosea, God tells the prophet to marry a prostitute, so he married Gomer (Hosea 1:1, 3). In Hosea 3:1, God tells Hosea to love his wife again, even though she had apparently returned to prostitution. Hosea 3:2 says, “So I bought her back for fifteen pieces of silver and five bushels of barley and a measure of wine” (NLT).

The book of Hosea shows us God’s faithful love for Israel in spite of her unfaithfulness to Him.

Hosea also has truth for us today: God paid a redemption price for us. It wasn’t silver or wine or barley, but rather the life-blood of His Son Jesus.

And God wants to redeem every person and make each one His own. He’s already paid the price, but He gives each one the choice to accept or reject the love and life He offers.

Thank You, Lord, for paying the price to redeem me from sin and darkness. Thank You for Your offer of forgiveness through Jesus. I love You because You made me one of Your beloved children in Christ. Amen.

One of my favorite Bible quotes: “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:12-13 NLT)

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Thanksgiving and Praise

“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!” (1 Chronicles 16:34)

Yes, Lord, You are so good! You are good and do only good (Psalm 119:68 NLT). I praise You for Your total goodness. I also thank You for Your goodness to me.
Thank you for your unending mercy and loving-kindness! How I need Your mercy! If I continued to look at how often I’ve failed to show love or have gone my own way, surely I would faint from discouragement. But Your mercy is fresh every morning (Lamentations 3:23), and it endures forever! Thank You!

In the New Living Translation, “loving-kindness” is translated “faithful love.”Thank You, Lord, for Your faithful love! Your love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).

“Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever! Who can put into words and tell the mighty deeds of the Lord? Or who can show forth all the praise [that is due Him]?” (Psalm 106:1-2)

“All the praise that is due God”—indeed, Lord, You are worthy of unending praise. No matter how many praises I sing or say, You are worthy of more.

“Bless (Affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!” (Psalm 103:1)

O my soul, when you are tempted to feel sad or discouraged, remember God’s goodness and mercy and faithful love. Put into words some of His mighty deeds. Then affectionately and gratefully praise your Lord and bless His holy Name. And remember that His mercy and faithful love (even for you) ENDURE FOREVER!

(Scripture quotes are from the Amplified Bible.)

 

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More Relationship, Less Religion

Dear Father, all too often my relationship with you reverts to more religion than relationship. Praying, reading Your Word, Bible study, keeping rules, fasting, and quiet time with You are all good things. However, their value in getting closer to You diminishes if I do them as just routine, something more to check off my list of to-do’s.
One lure that draws me toward the religion trap is the foolish idea that I need do all those things so I can earn Your love, favor, attention, and approval. But of course these things (love, etc.) are gifts of Your grace, not things I earn. You already love me to the max. Jesus showed that when He suffered and died so I could be forgiven and reconciled to You. You are my Father, and I am Your child (John 1:12). Your Word overflows with declarations of Your favor for and attention to those who belong to You. Besides these, You’ve given us Your Holy Spirit so we have power and resources to live purposeful lives that please You.
I want to keep doing those good things, but let me do them because I love You and because they draw me closer to You. May I throw out any hint of earning anything. Thank You for reminding me of the wonderful truth that You desire relationship rather than religion. Amen.
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” (Psalm 27:8 New Living Translation)

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None Like God

Verses from Psalm 86: 1-5, 8, 12-13, New International Version, with my thoughts:
1. Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Am I poor and needy? Maybe not financially since any American is rich compared to most people in other parts of the world. But I am spiritually poor when my faith is small and I get discouraged. I’m needy because I am a broken person living in a broken world and both body and soul can be wounded and/or knocked off balance.
2. Guard my life, for I am faithful to You; save Your servant who trusts in You. You are my God. The key to receiving God’s help is for me to faithfully seek Him instead of other answers and to trust His power and care. I will have no other gods besides the living God, Almighty Maker of heaven and earth. I will be faithful to You, Lord.
3. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to You all day long. I will be persistent and patient in prayer.
4. Bring joy to Your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You. I will trust in You, Lord, with all my heart and not lean on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). (In Your presence is fullness of joy—from Psalm 16:11.)
5. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. Thank You, Lord, that You abound in love to me as I call on You.
8. Among the gods, there is none like You, Lord; no deeds can compare with Yours. For example, what other god could cause a dead stick to bud, blossom, and bear almonds as You did with Aaron’s staff?
12-13. I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. 13 For great is Your love toward me. You have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead. Yes, I will glorify Your name forever and praise You with all my heart, Lord, for great is Your love for me!

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