“How Many Times?”

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How many times have I missed the mark?

How many times have I chosen the dark?

How many times have I despised what’s right?

How many times have I lived for the night?

 

How many times has my life taken an ugly turn?

How many of your graces did I willingly spurn?

How many times have You tried to wrench me from the devil’s lies?

How many times, Your efforts have I despised?

 

How many times do you love me still?

How many times do You draw me to do Your will?

How many times has Your Spirit poured out,

To quench the thirst of this soul in drought?

 

How many times, in my life Your victories have won,

To reach in and save me by the blood of Your dear Son?

How many times have you drawn me to stay

By Your side because You’re the only way?

 

How many times have you redeemed me from my sinful plight,

To allow me relish in Your Son’s holy light?

How many times can I say I love You?

Numbering them one by one just won’t do!

 

How many times is a question I ask,

Because keeping this soul is an awesome task.

How many times . . . oh, I’m so grateful You do,

Never to give up on a love between me and You.

 

“For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again,” Proverbs 24:16

Photo Credit: Pixabay

“Privileged Responsibility”

Photo Credit: Kevin Payravi, Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Kevin Payravi, Wikimedia Commons

” For unto whomever is given, of him shall much be required,” Luke 12:48

In 1998 a movie titled “Ever After: A Cinderella Story” starring Drew Barrymore came out.  Over the years this has become one of my favorite movies to watch because it gives a realistic human experience to that fairy tale of old.  With a comedic twist is shows one way that this romance could have played out if it were real.

The so-called Prince Charming in this movie had a name, it was Henry.  Henry was a some-what spoiled prince who didn’t always want to operate under his parents rule.  He didn’t want to be king and he didn’t want to be forced into marriage with a complete stranger because of obligation.  It was around this time when his mother Queen Marie said, “Sweetheart . . . you were born to privilege and with that comes specific obligations,” (IMDb).

This quote came to my mind one day as I was traveling on a busy road in my neighborhood.  Traffic was running pretty smoothly that day.  There were several cars in front of me including an unmarked police car.  As we began to approach the intersection the light turned red for us.  After a few seconds of sitting somebody got impatient.  You got it, the police car.  He turned on his lights and sirens then proceeded through the red light.  I watched to see if he was in fact attending to an emergency or if he used his privileges as a police officer to do something the rest of us could not.  Well, by now you should know the answer.  When he got to the other side of the intersection the lights and sirens were turned off and he drove on as if everything were okay.

I thought to myself the shame of it all.  Here is a man in a respected office, but instead of being an example to the civilians around him he chose to spot his office by acting as any ordinary man.  He ran the red light, point-blank.

As frustrating as it may be to see these occurrences, it also gives a very vivid example of our role in Christ.  1 Peter 2:9 declares, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him  who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light,” (KJV).  What this verse does is speak of a royal lineage in Christ.  It tells us the office we now hold is not that of the common man.  Prince Henry was born a royal, but we were born-again to live royally the privileged life that He offers us.  That which He extends to us is enormously, wonderfully blessed.  But, with it comes responsibility.

The latter half of the above verse says we are to “shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”  What that means is that we are to magnify our office.  We are to bring glory to Him through our life.  We are to show the world what it means to have Christ save you and to give you the privileged life.  It’s not by running the “red lights” of life, rather it’s done by walking circumspectly, Eph. 5:15.  It’s done by patiently enduring those “red lights” in life that try to hinder our progress in Christ because we are an example to the world.

The world is watching us.  They want to see if the life we claim to have in Christ is real.  Our day-to-day affairs become our living testimony.  It does not matter if your days are spent in an office, on a construction site, or even as an at-home mom; someone is watching you to see how you “shew forth the praises of him who hath called you.”  What will they see?  Someone who is responsible with their privileged life – a life that will draw men to Christ?  Or, will they see a “red light” runner; someone who taints their office?  “For unto whomever much is given, of him shall much be required,” (Luke 12:48, KJV).

Image

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In a world where selfies, mainstream personal videos, and profiles dominate it’s easy to surmise that image to most mean a great deal.  One’s style and the exterior of self are put on display for the world to like, or not.

But, the degree of image goes deeper.  It’s so easy to look at the clothes, the hair, and the poses and think that’s the sum of a person.  When God crafted us individually and designed us like Him, He saw so much more.  He had a greater vision in mind.

I fear that we have watered down His intention for our purposeful design of a deeper and more spiritually revealing self that personifies His glory before the world and we have settled for the cheaper, mass produced, mass approved public version.

I believe when God spoke in the beginning that we were made in His image (see Genesis 1:27), He spoke of more than just our facial features, our physique, our height, weight, and so on.  He spoke of our representation of something the boundaries of those outer measurements can’t comprehend.  He spoke of our likeness of Him.  At that point of creation, when it came time for humanity to be put on the earth, God looked to Himself to snap a portrait of who we are truly designed to be.

Now, do I mean that you are supposed to be God sitting on the throne in heaven?  No.  But, what I do mean is we are carriers of so much more.  The portrait of our lives is made to expose and reflect His glory of the greater.  The selfies we have grown accustomed to can’t compare to the true nature we were designed to resemble.

So my question is, why settle for less when your life and mine was made to shine beyond the flash of a lens?  Can we not view our importance and value through the eyes of God instead of view clicks, like buttons, and reactions?  Who or what do we really want our lives to model?

Selfies and having fun with cameras aren’t bad.  They just don’t hold the sum of who we really are.  We can make pretty faces, pose, and dress – but, we will never find true happiness and satisfaction in life exchanging Image for image.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

“You have been upheld since birth!”

My Project 445-001

“By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You,” Psalm 71:6, NKJV

As you look back over your life, is there ever a time when you know you should not have made it?  Is there a time when you recognize that it was only by the grace of God that you are still here today?

Yeah, me too!

Life has a way of throwing us many curve balls.  Sometimes we hit it and sometimes we miss.  Sometimes we are even awesome enough to get a home run, whereas at other times we would just be grateful to still be in the game.  The fact that we are is a testimony to the love of the Father on us.  It is evident that He still has you and me in His hands.

There are times that come that make it extremely hard for us to recognize this great truth.  Crushing times that weigh on us making us believe that we are forgotten or that we are walking this path alone.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  God has always been with us.  God has always taken care of us.  God has always been the one holding on to us when our lives seem to be spinning out of control.

I find it utterly amazing that we have been upheld since birth.  Truth be told, Psalm 139:16 shows us that He was paying attention to us even before the time of our birth.  It says, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them,” (NASB).  Even before day 1 of our lives, God had His eye on us.

How awesome is that?  I find great comfort in verses like these because I realize that yes; I have gone through some very difficult and troubling times.  Yes, as I look back through the different stages of life I wish things could have been better or I wish wrong choices could be undone.  But, despite all the “I wish I had . . .” or the “could haves and should haves,” these verses remind me that I never walked alone.  There was never a time in my life that God didn’t see me and didn’t see what I was going through.  There was never a time when He was absent; rather, He was there with His hands on me, cradling me with His love.

God’s hands have always been us!

I don’t know what you may be facing today but the Word of God is sure in all it promises and His Word promises that you are not alone.  Yet, sometimes it does seem that way.  It seems like you cry and cry and cry some more, but your tears do not fall on deaf ears.  As you cry, the one who has had His hands on you since birth feels the flow of your tears running over His hands as He holds you.

Trust Him who has you in His hands today.  Be blessed.

Venturing Forth!

 

For the children of Israel there always seemed to a pull to return to bondage; to give themselves over to chains as opposed to freedom.  It was almost as if they had a case of the “couldn’t help its.”  For every little obstacle they faced they were soon ready to throw in the towel and return to what they formerly were. They spouted, “Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness,” (Exodus 14:12).

Lest we judge them too harshly perhaps we may need to rethink how oft we fight to stay where we were once comfortable.  God stretches our faith, pulling us to follow Him through what seems to be desert wildernesses.  His fulfilled plan is on the other side, yet to get there we have to venture out into the unknown territories where He calls us, step by step in our own walk of faith.

Alas, through the drudgery and turmoil of the march, that old familiar pull rears its ugly head once more and beckons us to stay in the comfortable; to stay where we know what each day will bring.  But, we know that settling will never get us to the other side of the wilderness.   Turning back will never propel us forward.

May we, through this day, venture forth where God is leading with a heart of faith that refuses to turn back.

 

“Happy Thanksgiving!”

With grateful hearts we enjoy what the Lord has done for us and we enjoy our family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!! May the Lord’s continued blessings be upon you and yours today!!!

Word For Life Says...

My Project 60-001

With grateful hearts we enjoy what the Lord has done for us and we enjoy our  family and friends.  Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!! May the Lord’s continued blessings be upon you and yours today!!!

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“Love Without Hypocrisy!”

Real love draws people. Fake love pushes them away. If we truly want to be like Christ then love on people sincerely. Don’t give them what the world is already giving them; fake love. Give them something genuine. Give them something real. Give them something that will bring them closer to God. Give them real love!

Word For Life Says...

John15123 Photo Credit: Wallpaper4god.com

Jesus loved us with a sincere love.  Everything He did, right down to dying on the cross as a substitute for our wrongs, was motivated by love; real love.

Paul commanded, “Let love be without hypocrisy,” (Rom. 12:9).  The church was to model Christ in the way that they loved people.  They are to have the purest and most sincere love that would compel people to want to know more about Christ.  They are to be pillars of love that the lost, broken and hurt can lean on and find strength.

One thing people can readily pick up on is fakeness.  Those that come to us and come to our buildings are looking for something real.  They have had enough of the phony stuff.  They have dealt with the pretenders of the world and they are not looking for that in us.  They are looking for something…

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“Don’t Step Out of the Character of Christ!”

My Project 179-001

“But He turned and rebuke them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of,’” Luke 9:55, NKJV

I think it’s safe to say that we have all experienced a time or two (or many more 🙂 ) of when we let the situation get the best of us.  Here in this verse Jesus and His disciples were traveling and came to a town of the Samaritans.  But, not everyone was excited to see Jesus and the Bible tells us that He was not received there.

In a moment of fleshly upheaval, Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” (Luke 9:54, NKJV).  Jesus was taken aback that they would be so quickly and willingly ready to take the lives of some who did not support them that He rebuked their way of thinking. He said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of,” (Luke 9:55, NKJV).  In other words, you are not operating in the spirit of who I am.  You are not thinking like Me.  They were not looking at people and the ministry the way He would.

Jesus set the record straight and said, “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them,” (Luke 9:56, NKJV).  Jesus’ goal was to save people.  His goal was to build up, not to tear down.  Too often in our daily lives our anger and haste over a disappointing situation can cause us to want to act the opposite of the way Jesus would act, such as occurred here.  But Christ declared His mission is always to save and those who want to do anything beside that are stepping out of the character of who He is.

We all have the responsibility to be mindful of the way we handle people and situations.  Sometimes the situation can catch us off guard.  Sometimes we let things get the best of us and we behave in the manner of these disciples.  But if we are going to be examples of Christ we must try our best to think like He did and to view people like He did.  Jesus always had the best interest of the people in mind.  There were many of times when He could have just zapped them all and been done with it but that would not fulfill God’s plan for His life.  God’s plan for His life was to save.

God’s plan for our lives is to show His salvation is real.  If we want to fulfill God’s plan for our lives we have to learn to look at situations and people through the eyes of Christ.  I am in no ways saying that it is always easy but it is a daily goal that we should work toward.  We need to learn to exhibit the same patient and long suffering spirit Christ had.  We need to learn to show His love off to the world and not be so ready to “consume” with our ire over a situation.  Our goal is to work to stay in the character of Christ and not to step out of it.

Be blessed.