Monthly Archives: February 2012
I don’t have a lot to say today. I’d like to share how I experienced abundant blessings from God Friday after a beautiful snowfall during the night. I was up early and reflecting on Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than ALL we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.”
I dressed warm, grabbed my camera and headed outdoors right at sunrise. It was pristene white, peaceful, and quiet. God blessed me with His beautiful creation. I saw eagles closer than I’ve been to them before in the wild. I’ve been praising God all weekend for the way He blesses us over and over again with the beautiful from His creative hands.
I pray you will be blessed by these photos as well. I especially pray that you will be able to see the beauty of God’s love and grace all around you ~ Faye
“Then you will be MADE COMPLETE with all the FULLNESS OF LIFE AND POWER that comes from God.” ~ Ephesians 3:19b
Just think of what it is like to FULLY EXPERIENCE a sunrise. I’ve gone out to take photos at 5:30 in the morning. The anticipation is incredible as I stand there and watch the sky changes hues. It is amazing how I can be drawn into the beauty of the colors, thrill at the changing reflection on the water and in the clouds, and then I’m filled with peace, joy, calm, beauty, and a sense of God’s splendor. These 4 photos of the sunrise were taken over a period of 20 minutes. Amazing how the colors change. It is truly difficult to describe.
Paul tells us to FULLY EXPERIENCE the LOVE OF CHRIST. And then he tells us – imagine it, but you can’t fully understand it because IT IS TOO GREAT!
I’m reminded of a simple little song:God is so wonderful, I can’t explain, But I can say, Glory, Hallelujah! Praise His Holy Name. It’s wonderful because He saved me. It’s wonderful that He forgave me. It’s wonderful, wonderful, So very wonderful, wonderful that He is mine. I cast on Him my every burden, Lay at His feet my every care, It’s wonderful, wonderful, so very wonderful, Wonderful that He is mine.
Virginia Marshall © 1964 Word Music, Inc. CCLI song# 10525
I looked up the word “wonderful” –beyond what is ordinary or usual; highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable; extraordinary; excellent; outstanding; tremendous; magnificent; superb; sensational; awesome; stupendous; terrific; sovereign; remarkable; amazing; fantastic; incredible; astonishing; phenomenal; marvelous; staggering; astounding; miraculous; awe-inspiring; jaw-dropping; mind-blowing …”. God cannot be described simply with one word. Who He is. What He does. His resplendent glory. His unconditional love. His amazing grace. And yet, that indescribable God, loves each one of us and promises that we will be MADE COMPLETE in God. We will be filled to all the FULLNESS OF LIFE AND POWER that God gives us, and it will be enough, sufficient.
Chris Tomlin sings Enough. I won’t put the words here since they’re under the video on the YouTube link. We need to stop and think about the amazing, awesome, wonderful love God lavishes on us. We are so blessed with the knowledge that God’s love for us is not just when we’re good, or just to give us happiness. It is to transform us, to grow us into being like Him. During this season of Lent, when we particularly think of the sacrificial love of Christ and are filled with wonder and awe of His gift, we must realize God’s love is penetrating into the depth of our soul. He’s working to change us from the inside out.
May you experience the blessing of basking in the sunshine of God’s love ~ Faye
This week we are studying Ephesians 3:14-21 with Good Morning Girls. (See the top right side panel of God’s Abundant Blessings.) I love this passage. I cannot comprehend the depths and vastness of God’s love. I can’t understand why He blesses us more than ALL we can ask or imagine, but He does. Now, I’m not saying if you pray for healing, God will answer with perfect health, just the way you or I want. But what I’m saying from my experience is that when I turn my life over to Him, He takes care of ALL the details and provides for my needs in ways I never could have asked for or imagined. He does this because of His immense, overpowering love for us. It’s indescribable!
Paul definitely gives us a glimpse of God’s love. He can’t describe it either, but he prays for us to have a full understanding of God’s glorious, unlimited resources; His riches. He tells the Ephesians and Gentiles that he wants them to understand/comprehend how wide, and long, and high, and deep is God’s amazing love. How incredibly blessed we are.
But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are MINE. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Some of us have been through house fires, flood waters, tornados, hurricanes and other devastating natural disasters. Many have felt the calm presence that can only come from God in those difficult times of loss, grief and shock. As you deal with insurance companies or FEMA and the tiring rebuilding process, you can so easily become weary and overwhelmed. Yet God, out of His INFINITE love, has promised to be with us. He is pulling us up out of the muddy waters. He’s the shield around us in the flames.
Some of you may not relate “literally” to the natural disasters in these verses, however, we’ve all been in the deep waters of financial difficulties and job loss or the difficult rivers of chronic or terminal illnesses. We’ve felt the flames from the fires of oppression in difficult relationships. But we don’t have to fear when these trials come. Why? Because we are blessed with being called by the LORD, the God who made each one of us.
If you don’t know this amazing God, just open your heart to Him, call out to Him. Ask Him to be your LORD and Savior. Realize that out of His overwhelming love for each one of us, He sent His Son to die on the cross to save us from our sinful selves when we believe on Him. When we tell God we want to belong to Him, we are filled with the fullness of life from the Holy Spirit. We are filled to overflowing with the incomprehensible, unfathomable love of Christ.
Praying you are blessed with being “filled through all your being with God Himself”! ~ Faye
I was in a discussion recently about worrying, feeling guilty and God’s grace. Sometimes we can drive ourselves nuts by worrying about how we raised our kids, or whether we said the right thing to someone, or doing what we should be doing day to day. I tend to think women definitely fall into this pattern of worrying if they are “being or doing enough.”
God’s word is full of reminders of His abundant grace and love. Yet we allow Satan to grow the seed of doubt in us. We let it fester and feed us to the point where we worry about what we are doing, are we good enough? We forget – it’s not about us – it is about God’s Grace!
Sin ruins our lives. Our relationships suffer. Our health declines. It robs us of our happiness. It steals our peace and joy. God gives us a way to put the past in the past and experience the incredible blessing of His love and grace. We simply have to believe and receive. We can’t do enough, be enough, say enough. We just have to open our hearts to be washed clean with His amazing grace. We need to quit looking at the past sins and mistakes and KNOW God has washed us clean with His grace. When we hold onto that baggage of guilt, we negate the gift God freely gives us. And we lose out on the gift of PEACE that comes from walking hand in hand in God’s love and being filled with His grace.
Bask fully in the love and grace God lavishes on you ~ Faye
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. — Matthew 7:7-8 NLT
I recently felt God prompting me to spend a day in prayer and fasting. I thought and prayed about it for a few days and the feeling didn’t leave. So on a Monday morning before getting out of bed, I dedicated the day to God and what He had planned for me to learn. I had recently been reviewing my business’s yearend documentation and saw how God had provided, despite a significant loss in business for the past two years. I was longing to be more productive, but the business wasn’t coming in. I had been asking God – “What next? When? How long? Guide me.” As I was preparing for the day, my fax machine started spewing page after page of work from a client I hadn’t had anything from for a few months. There was definitely a time of praise and thanksgiving to God! But I didn’t let it interrupt my commitment to God. And boy am I glad I didn’t because God continued to answer.
After reading God’s word for a while and praying, I decided to go for a walk. I went down by the river and enjoyed seeing some eagles, a hawk and some other birds. But mostly, I just enjoyed walking and talking with God. I asked Him, with a boldness and confidence I don’t always come to Him with, about my future – Do I go out looking for a job? Do I wait? Would He please make it very clear to me that He had plans for me. And I shared some specific things I desired if I were to work outside of the home. While I was walking past some friends’ business, the owner came out and asked me to talk. He talked about the possibility of a part-time job. Now I really wanted to fall on my knees before God in prayer. This is the perfect answer to my prayers. God knew the variety of my needs and concerns about working and He provided with THE best answer – it included many of the specific things I had requested.
I have to tell you it was so refreshing to spend such a concentrated and purposeful day with God. I didn’t just fast from food, but turned off most of the worldly distractions. I didn’t start the day with the morning news. I didn’t read my emails. I didn’t check Facebook, aside from my morning devotion with my Ephesians Bible study group. I didn’t even have the radio on! Those who know me know that I usually surround myself with some form of noise. But this day just seemed like a day I should devote to God.
But to see God work so immediately – when I LISTENED to HIS LEADINGS! Too often I pray quickly something like, “LORD, You know my needs. Help me see what You have for me.” But God tells us in Matthew 7 that whatever we ask for we will receive, seek and we will find, knock and the door will be opened. Jesus teaches us persistence in our prayer. God will provide for our daily needs and pour out His spiritual blessings.
Ephesians 3:12 says, Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
We are blessed to be able to come BOLDLY AND CONFIDENTLY into the presence of the KING of Kings! We can ask Him anything, talk to Him about everything because He cares. Instead of being afraid for our life, like Queen Esther was when she appeared before King Xerxes without being summoned; God invites us to come to Him ANYTIME with the assurance that He will welcome us and hear us.
Even though we can come BOLDLY and CONFIDENTLY into His presence, we must also surrender to Him and LISTEN for His prompting us to be in agreement with His Will for our lives.
I have spent the past two weeks almost pinching myself for God’s answers. Then I find that I’m chiding myself because I believe firmly that God is able to immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. Have I been limiting God by not BOLDLY ASKING WITH THE CONFIDENCE THAT HE GIVES ABUNDANTLY? Have I been too busy and distracted not to LISTEN?
I encourage you to find that special time with God. Whether it’s 10 minutes in the car while you’re waiting for kids to get out of volleyball or waiting at the doctor’s office, tune out all the distractions and focus on what He is saying to you.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
Celebrating the immeasurable blessings of God ~ Faye
I last wrote about us being masterpieces made by God. Then I got to thinking about the old analogy:
When we look at the back of the work of art, we see all the knots and paths to get to the next color area. However, God sees the entire piece from the front and sees the beauty and value. We can easily compare that to our lives. The back shows the imperfections and sins in us. Yet God, knowing we are sinners, still sees us as beautiful, priceless masterpieces. He looks at us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ dying on the cross. He sees the individual He created. He sees our inner beauty. He sees our value. He sees very clearly the plans He has for us.
I think we wonder how God can look at us as perfect masterpieces. How can He see selfish, sinful, imperfect people as precious, valued and prize? God uses the filter of the blood of Jesus Christ to look at us.
Here’s an example of what a filter can do. In photography, and particularly in Photoshop, one can use different filters to change a perspective. This is a photo of something I took that is common, but I applied a chrome filter to it:
When looked at, most people say they see water or ice, but they don’t come anywhere close to what the actual object is.
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, it means Jesus died in our place on the cross. When God looks at us, He no longer sees the imperfections and sins. God sees us through the filter of Jesus’ blood. Our sins and imperfections can’t show up through the “blood filter”, and God sees us as perfect as He is.
Ephesians 3:12 says that through Jesus we have confident, bold access to God. We are encouraged to approach the Father confidently and boldly because in His eyes we are perfect. We no longer bear the evidence of sin or imperfections before His eyes. Why? Because we act perfectly and do what is right all the time? No way! Because God sees us through Jesus’ “blood-filter” which has made us perfect us forever.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. – 1 John 1:9
We used Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 23, Q&A 60 this Sunday –
How are you right with God?
Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined toward all evil, nevertheless, without my deserving it at all, out of sheer grace, God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ, as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. All I need to do is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.
Praying you will be blessed with the knowledge that through the blood of Jesus Christ, you are made perfect ~ Faye
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
I enjoy cross-stitching and felt the need to take on two very time-consuming Christmas stockings out of love for my precious granddaughters. I finished one in 2010 for the youngest who lives in the same town with us. But then knowing the time it took to prepare the first , I had a hard time beginning the next. It sat in the drawer for over a year. I came up with several excuses – lighting, dry eyes, sore hands, etc. But not having both stockings to hang this year bothered me, so I recently took the other one out to work on for Christmas 2012. Looking at it, most people see a very beautiful work of art. But I can focus on the mistakes so quickly. I can see where I miscounted, where my stitches go in the wrong direction, where the bridge has extra stitches or the house isn’t perfectly symmetrical. But my granddaughter just sees the snowman, birds, kids playing and the doggy, and of course, the presents inside ;-). God doesn’t say you are an imperfect work of art. He calls us masterpieces. Masterpieces are priceless. We need to see ourselves as God sees us.
I am not comparing myself to God, but I’m thinking as the creator of these stockings of the time, dedication, poked fingers, frustration at thread not cooperating, and other things and yet there is pride in the beauty of the work once it is done because it was prepared in love for the girls I love.
God is the Creator of each one of us. He knows we are imperfect. He knows we have blemishes, flaws, and we make mistakes. Even when we intentionally turn our backs on Him or don’t listen to Him, He loves us unconditionally.
Many years ago Sandi Patty sang a song – MasterpieceBefore you had a name or opened up your eyes or anyone could recognize your face. You were being formed so delicate in size secluded in God’s safe and hidden place. With your little tiny hands and little tiny feet and little eyes that shimmer like a pearl He breathed in you a song and to make it all complete He brought the masterpiece into the world. You are a masterpiece A new creation He has formed And you’re as soft and fresh as a snowy winter morn And I’m so glad that God has given you to me Little Lamb of God, you are a masterpiece. And now you’re growing up your life’s a miracle every time I look at you I stand in awe Because I see in you a reflection of me and you’ll always be my little lamb from God And as your life goes on each day how I pray that you will see Just how much your life has meant to me. And I’m so proud of you what else is there to say? Just be the masterpiece He created you to be.
Performed by: Sandi Patti – Composed by: Gloria Gaither, Graig Patty, Michael Patty, and Brent Henderson – Copyright 1989
We are all created as God’s handiwork, His workmanship. If I can take pride in a simple Christmas stocking, how much more does God pleasure in the beauty and individuality He has made in each one of us, His children.
Praising God He made me who I am. Praying you will celebrate the new creation He has made in you ~ Faye
I have a young friend who has lived with painful health issues for many years. This person has taught and encouraged me by their reliance on God through the sufferings endured. Bible verses that provide encouragement and a goal for this person are James 1:2-4:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
The testimony of this quiet, young person is very powerful because through the suffering endured / persevered the depth of maturity in their faith has been an inspiration to me. There is an inner joy and peace. There is a quiet, gentle spirit that flows from the heart of this person.
This morning God reminded me of a photo and verse I have by my bedside to encourage me. (Funny how something can be right next to you for a long time and pretty soon you don’t see it.)
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. – Romans 5:3-8
How many times do we feel incredibly helpless, and worse hopeless? How often do we let life overwhelm us? As believers in Christ we are told life will be filled with trials of many kinds. Life won’t always go the way we want it to. We should anticipate them, but we often can’t plan for the events. However, as one study said, we can be prepared for them when they occur by being rooted and grounded in God’s word. We need to remember that God is in control and as Ephesians 2:8-10 says
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. 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.
When trials happen, we should look for ways to see God at work in our lives bringing a maturity to our faith. And in the blessing of our maturing faith, we will become filled with the confident hope we have through our Savior, Jesus Christ.
I’m not sure what God has in mind for me – thinking of this friend, being reminded of all these verses in 5 days, but focusing on the joy-filled life through Christ has been a blessing to my heart. And being rooted and established firmly in His word fills me with hope.
I pray that you are filled abundantly with the hope-filled joy given through God’s grace ~ Faye