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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The "U" In Jesus

" For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NIV)

 Before U were thought of or time had begun,
God stuck U in the name of His Son.

And each time U pray, you'll see it's true,
You can't spell out JesUs and not include U.
You're a pretty big part of His wonderful name,
For U, He was born; that's why He came.

And His great love for U is the reason He died.
It even takes U to spell crUcified.

Isn't it thrilling and splendidly grand
He rose from the dead, with U in His plan?

The stones split away, the gold trUmpet blew,
And this word resUrrection is spelled with a U.

When JesUs left earth at His Upward ascension,
He felt there was one thing He just had to mention.

"Go into the world and tell them it's true
That I love them all - Just like I love U."

So many great people are spelled with a U,
Don't they have a right to know JesUs too?

It all depends now on what U will do,
He'd like them to know,
But it all starts with U.   

Author Unknown.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, there is none like You.  What love You possess to send Your one and only Son to die for my sins and the sins of the world.  It is very humbling to know that Jesus was thinking about me when He was on the cross. Help me and each person reading this blog to remember that we are very important to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  In Your Word, Jesus tells us that He desires a personal relationship with us.  Like we would any family member or friend whom we trust, help us to take our burdens to Him, talk to Him and walk with Him.  Help us to desire His presence in our lives.  May we follow Him all the days of our life, telling others about His love and sacrifice until that day when we will see Him face to face.  It is in His name that I pray. Amen.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Blessed Assurance

"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:22-23

"This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."  I John 4:10

Today in church we sang the old hymn "Blessed Assurance", written by Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915).  I learned this song when I was a child and to this day, it has remained a special part of my brain's "music library."  Tonight, as I am still thinking about the words to the song, and because gospel music is so important to my walk of faith, I wanted to share the stanzas and chorus of "Blessed Assurance" with my blog readers.  Some of you will know the song and others of you might not.  But, first I want to give you some astounding facts about Fanny Crosby.

In the book, Amazing Grace, 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions, I found the following description of Fanny Crosby's work: "Though blinded at six weeks of age through improper medical treatment, Fanny J. Crosby wrote more than eight thousand gospel song texts in her lifetime of ninety-five years.  Her many favorites such as "Blessed Assurance" have been an important part of evangelical worship for over a century.   Only eternity will disclose the number of individuals whose lives have been spiritually enriched through the texts of Fanny Crosby's many hymns."  What an anointed and amazing woman of God! 

As I sometimes do in my blog writings, I want to ask you a rhetorical question.  In today's society, what I am going to ask is not a politically correct question.  However, we must look beyond political correctness deep into our hearts, for when push comes to shove, it is each individual who has to know where they stand with God.  So, my question is the following: Do you currently have a "blessed assurance" of your eternal salvation?  If you were to die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?  If you are not totally sure, let me point you to the Word of God, for it is within the confines of its pages that you will find the assurance you are looking for.  The Bible is full of God's promises and will give you absolute confidence that you have the life of God within you and that you are His for eternity.  I John 5:13 gives the following assurance: "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."  This confidence is not based on inner feelings or outer signs.  Rather, this assurance is founded upon the promises of a faithful God and His inspired Word.  It depends not on the amount of our faith but on the object of our faith--Jesus Christ Himself.

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above,
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission--all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, we thank you for the legacy that Fannie J. Crosby left us through her song texts.  Thank you for calling her to a great work for the cause of Christ.  Fill our hearts with the assurance that we belong to You now and throughout eternity.  I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gonna Make It Through

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Romans 8:28

"No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:37-39

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  Philippians 1:6

Have you ever felt so weak and alone during times of difficulty that you wondered if you were going to make it through?  If you presently feel this way or have in the past, you are not alone. We've all been there and no doubt we will be again.  Someone once said that we are either presently going through troubles, have just come out of a season of troubles, or are about to enter into a time of troubles. This is life.  We have both good and not-so-good cycles to our time here on earth. How we handle our struggles in this life gives a snapshot of "in what" and "on whom" we are placing our trust.

Today I have good news for you!  Do you know that it is impossible to ever get beyond God's loving reach?  His love is unlimited and  He is always there to comfort you in each situation that you face. How sad it is that there are so many in the world today who do not understand how much God loves them. If only they knew His love and comfort, their lives would be forever changed. Two of the verses of scripture listed above and found in Romans 8:37-39 state unequivocally that there is nothing in all of creation which is able to separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord.  I don't know about you, but that is pretty much "shoutin'" news for me!  Having the assurance that God will always love and strengthen me when I am spiritually, physically, and emotionally depleted brings peace and comfort to my heart as only He can. 

In addition to knowing how much God loves us, one of my favorite scriptures, Romans 8:28, tells us that "in all things God works for the good of those who love Him..." This verse of scripture is our promise that even though we may not always understand why some things happen as they do, we can  rest peacefully knowing that God is always working in the midst of our circumstances.  Sometimes, He humbles us to the point that we are made vividly aware that we must always stick close to Him because on our own, we fail miserably.  God works on our behalf so that we might testify to His marvelous love and help in times of trouble. He brings light to our lives so that our testimony might be an encouragement for others to continue leaning on Him for their own help.  This light also gives us opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with non-believers.

As I write these words today, I don't know what your present circumstances are.  Things may be rocking along smoothly for you. If so, that is wonderful! What a great time to thank God for His blessings upon your life. However, some of you may be burdened or discouraged.  Or, you may hurting due to a variety of reasons.  Only God knows what you are going through and that is all that matters.  During times when you are burdened or discouraged or need direction for your life, please understand that God's love reaches down to each of you.  His love is boundless. He loved and knew you and me before time began and He will always love us.  We make the choice whether or not we will believe in God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But, based on His Word, no one can make the choice for God not love them.  He loves each one of us in spite of our respect or disrespect for Him and He longs for personal relationship with us through Jesus Christ.

I was inspired to write today's blog article after listening to the song which I have posted below by the Sisters trio entitled, "I'm Gonna Make It Through." I thank God for leading me to find it on my friend's FB wall. The song is very meaningful to me and I hope that it will be to each of you.  Never forget that you are gonna make it through.  He's already said that you would.  In this life, we may never be able to fully grasp the depth of God's love, but I am so thankful for that love because I feel it deep in my heart and soul.  I pray that you do, too.

Prayer:  Father God, we praise Your Holy name.  You are the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.  You are the lover of our souls and for that we praise You and honor You.  You love an imperfect people, but in no way are You surprised by that fact.  Your love is such that we don't have to be perfect before we can come to You.  All we need is a heart that longs to follow after You.  Help us each day to develop more Christ-like characteristics through the truths and promises found in Your Word.  Please give us Your wisdom so that we might be a light that shines for those who do not know You.   We pray this prayer in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Do Not Worry

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?"  Matthew 6:25  (NIV)

Prayer:  Father, God, thank you for providing us with the necessities of life, and for giving a sense of trust that You are always in the midst of our day. We are very much aware that Your presence goes before us and that through You we have joy and contentment in all situations.  I love You.  My greatest desire is to honor You all the days of my life until one day, I see you face to face.  I pray that each person who reads these words will also voice their desire to serve You, and You only.  This I pray in the name of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Life - Welcome Sophie!

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

On Friday, January 6, 2012, our family received an exquisite gift from God--the birth of our granddaughter, Sophie.  This wonderful and precious baby girl arrived weighing 6 pounds, 12 ounces, and appeared to us as being that of sheer perfection!

Sophie has come unexpectedly and relatively late in our daughter's child-bearing years. But, what a joy this little girl has already brought to her mom and dad, her older siblings, grandparents, and other extended family members and friends.  So many people have had a stake in Sophie's arrival because she and her mom have been the recipients of their prayers throughout our daughter's pregnancy.  We are so thankful for the faithfulness of those who have prayed, encouraged us with their positive thoughts, and shown their love for our family during this time. God has surely answered our prayers in that Sophie arrived without complication and she and her mom are healthy and doing well.

As Ray and I left the hospital on the day of Sophie's birth, he said, "Well, it's over." I understood what he meant--the stress and concern for our daughter and the uncertainty surrounding how things would turn out for her and the baby. Truly, we did feel a huge sense of relief and thankfulness.  But, thinking a little further down the road, my reply to my husband was: "No, it's not over, it's only the beginning."  Sophie's birth is the beginning of so many wonderful moments for this little one and her family.  In our lives, there are always triumphs and challenges. As Sophie grows and learns about life and how to live it, she will experience much happiness as well as some of the ups and downs that comes to each of us. 

Upon learning of Sophie's birth and seeing a picture of her, my cousin wrote three words that will stick with me indefinitely: "What a treasure!"  Her comment is such a great description of Sophie's worth to us.  She will always be our treasure, but more importantly, Sophie will always be God's treasure. He knows her far better than we do because He carefully and skillfully formed her. Sophie is God's creation and according to Jeremiah 29:11, He has plans for Sophie and for each one of us.  Whether we are fresh out of our mother's womb, or we are living in the sunset of our lives, God desires that we trust Him to lead us through each season of our time on earth.  Through Jesus Christ, we have hope that our tomorrow will be better than today.  Our minds and attitudes are drastically changed when we allow Jesus to lead us through life. 

So, welcome to our lives and into our hearts, Sophie Leeann! You are a blessing sent from God and you have come to us just when we needed you the most.  You have brought us renewed hope and energy and faith and trust.  And by your birth, you have shown us that our Creator is a God of miracles--for you are that little miracle!  We love you with all of our hearts.

Prayer:  Father God, thank you for bringing Sophie into our lives and hearts.  Thank you for this perfect gift and for bringing her safely to us.  Thank you for watching over Shelly while she was carrying Sophie and for allowing a delivery that was complication free.  Now, as we begin our lives with Sophie, I pray your blessings upon her.  Give Sophie Your wisdom as she grows and learns of You and her Savior, Jesus Christ.  Our prayer and desire is that Sophie will be a passionate follower of our Lord and Savior.  Help us as family members to do our part in pointing her toward the Cross.  We pray this in Jesus name.  Amen.