Category Archives: Christ’s Return

Be Truly Glad!

Really! Did you know the Bible tells us to be truly glad even though we may  have to endure many trials?

How in the world can we be “truly glad” when we look at the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and Irma, wildfires in 11 states and Canada, concerns heating up with North Korea, Rohingya refugees trying to escape from Myanmar to Bangladesh, persecution of Christians around the world, a loved one diagnosed with inoperable cancer, another bill that is coming due and the finances are so tight, job insecurity, car accidents, betrayal, hatred, bigotry and so much more. Slide1 4x6

I’ve been reading through 1 Peter recently. I was struck by verses 6 and 7 when we are told to:

“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is GENUINE. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:6-7

All of the trials and struggles of this life are for a purpose. They are for strengthening our faith, the opportunity to see God’s sovereignty and provisions, and to truly know Jesus Christ is the ONLY Savior to all!

Our Bible study group just looked at the life of (Genesis 37-50). Why in the world would Joseph continue to be truly glad during his trials? He had  dreams where he saw his brothers and father bowing down to him. He was hated by his brothers. His brothers stripped him of his colorful robe, was thrown into a dry well, sold to a caravan who sold him as a slave to Potiphar. Then when things were starting to look up and he found favor with Potiphar, Potiphar’s wife falsely accuses him of molesting her. Joseph is sent to jail. He is there for a few years when he interprets the dreams of the cup-bearer and baker, which Joseph interprets and the events come true. Again, several years later, Pharoah has a vision and no one can interpret it.  The cup-bearer remembers Joseph. He is called from jail to interpret the dream and tells of 7 years of plentiful food in Egypt before 7 years of extreme famine. He is elevated to a position just under Pharoah. His brothers go to Egypt for food during the famine and eventually learn that their brother, Joseph, is very much alive – AFTER they had bowed down to an Egyptian ruler (Joseph) whom they didn’t know (fulfilling his dreams). Joseph forgives his brothers for their actions and tells them:

“I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  Genesis 45:4b-7

Then many years later when Jacob, Joseph’s father dies, the brothers figure now Joseph will get even with us. Genesis 50:19-20 says,

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

That’s it!  Joseph could remain “truly glad” when throw in a pit, falsely accused, jailed, forgotten, or when he was unwanted or unloved because he knew God had a plan through all of his trials. 

We all have burdens, worries, concerns, fears, and trials of some degree and magnitude. Yet when we surrender our lives to Jesus, we can be truly glad because we have the promise of eternal life and the knowledge of God’s having a plan for our lives from before we were born. (Psalm 139:16)

storms

Resources:
Wildfires:  http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/wildfire/where-are-the-wildfires-burning and WeatherWizKids
Hurricanes: Harvey – Business Insider
Irma – NOAA and ABC News
New International Version (NIV)  Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/

 

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Why Memorize God’s Word?

My mom suffered from Parkinson’s dementia and paranoia the last couple of years of her life. One night she was suffering from paranoia and extremely agitated. My brother and dad tried to calm her on and off throughout the night. Somewhere in her memory suddenly the precious words from Revelation 21:1-4 came to her and an immediate calm came over her. How much of a blessing it was for mom and my family to know that during the deepest hours of despair and torment, God’s word became such a comfort and peace.  Rev 21 3-4 bevel

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:1-4 KJV)

I like how it is paraphrased in The Voice:

 Everything above me was new. Everything below me was new. Everything around me was new because the heaven and earth that had been passed away, and the sea was gone, completely. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride on her wedding day, adorned for her husband and for His eyes onlyAnd I heard a great voice, coming from the throne.

 A Voice: See, the home of God is with His people.
He will live among them;
They will be His people,
And God Himself will be with them.
    The prophecies are fulfilled:
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
Mourning no more, crying no more, pain no more,
For the first things have gone away.

 Praying you will fill your heart with God’s precious promises ~ Faye

 

Longing, Expectation, Anticipation, Hope – GLORY

It’s that time of year – Advent. Christians around the world look with longing, expectation, anticipation and hope for the celebration of the coming King of kings. We long to see the glory of God that the angels sang of when they heralded the news of Christ’s birth to the shepherds.

A few years ago I was blessed by two “old / new” words. They’re old because they are a Hebrew and Greek word, but new to me. I heard them in a message a couple of years ago, and they still follow me and fill me with wonder and awe. A few weeks later I read it in my devotions. This started my reading and studying them. Let me share a glimpse of what has touched me:

Kabod ~ describes glory (Old Testament). The Hebrew word kabod – “heavy in weight”; that which has substance or importance of a uniqueness someone/something possesses-beauty, majesty, splendor.  (i.e., Solomon’s wealth, Samson’s strength, gold’s weight shows its worth.) “The glory of someone or something is what sets it apart in a special and inimitable way, in the same way the glory of a Zebra is its stripes; the Cheetah’s, speed; or the peacock’s, plumage.” [Schaeffer]

I’ve been studying the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle established by God when the Israelites were in the desert after their exodus from Egypt. The Ark of the Covenant was the throne of God. (Exodus 25:10-22) It was covered by the mercy seat and two cherubim made of pure gold were placed on top of it facing each other. The glory of the Lord resided between the two cherubim. Only the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies and come before the presence and glory of God. The Ark represented God’s holiness, purity and presence among the people. 2 Samuel 6:1-19 shows what happened to Uzzah when he didn’t treat the Ark of the Covenant with the awesome respect God required.

Moses had been speaking with the Lord on several occasions (Read Exodus 33). Moses prayed in Exodus 33:18, “I pray You, show me Your glory!” So the Lord had Moses stand near Him on the rock and as God’s glorious presence passed by, God hid him in the crevice of the rock and covered him with His hand. When God removed His hand Moses could look at God from behind and see His glory and live. Exodus 34:30 indicates Moses’ face was so radiant after being with the Lord, that the people asked him to cover his face.

Doxa ~ describing glory is the other word (New Testament). The Greek word doxa, – “that which is apparent, brilliant, radiant, resplendent”; (i.e., as manifested in the splendor of Solomon in all his glory Matthew 6:29/Luke 12:27). The glory of God’s attributes is made known to the world through the radiant splendor of His creation. We get our word doxology-the song we sing at the end of our worship services, being with God, hearing His word and so we sing our praises to the glory of God for who He is and what He has done for us.

Ps 19_1 web copyPsalm 19 describes how all of creation recognizes the need to glorify God for who He is and what He has done.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

This time of year when we anticipate celebrating Christ’s coming to earth as a baby to save us from our sins, and even more His second coming, look for reasons to – Glorify Him! Worship Him! Praise Him! The Westminster Catechism describes what man is made for: The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  “To ‘give glory to God’ means to speak sincerely and from the heart about the Lord’s amazing nature or deeds in such a way that it seeks to do justice to the reality.” [Schaeffer]

May you spend time seeing God’s glory and praising Him this season! ~ FayePs 34_3 Glorify God with me - Praying Mantis web

Sources:

Glory, (Heb. kabhod; Gr. doxa). (1.) Abundance, wealth, treasure, and hence honour (Ps. 49:12); glory (Gen. 31:1; Matt. 4:8; Rev. 21:24, 26). (2.) Honour, dignity (1 Kings 3:13; Heb. 2:7 1 Pet. 1:24); of God (Ps. 19: 1; 29:1); of the mind or heart (Gen. 49: 6; Ps. 7:5; Acts 2:46). (3.) Splendour, brightness, majesty (Gen. 45:13; Isa. 4:5; Acts 22:11; 2 Cor.3:7); of Jehovah (Isa. 59:19; 60:1; 2 Thess. 1:9). (4.) The glorious moral attributes, the infinite perfections of God (Isa. 40:5; Acts 7:2; Rom. 1:23; 9:23; Eph. 1:12). Jesus is the “brightness of the Father’s glory” (Heb. 1:3; John 1:14; 2:11). (5.) The bliss of heaven (Rom. 2:7, 10; 5:2; 8:18; Heb. 2:10; 1 Pet. 5:1, 10). (6.) The phrase “Give glory to God” (Josh. 7:19; Jer. 13:16) is a Hebrew idiom meaning, “Confess your sins.” The words of the Jews to the blind man, “Give God the praise” (John 9:24), are an adjuration to confess. They are equivalent to, “Confess that you are an impostor,” “Give God the glory by speaking the truth;” for they denied that a miracle had been wrought.

  • “Glory” – Dan Schaeffer – In Touch, July 2013
  • “Life Principles for Worship from the Tabernacle”, Wayne Barber, Eddie Rasnake, Richard Shepherd
  • Ray VanderLaan Faith Living Series http://www.faithlessons.net/
  • Westminster Catechism

Watching God Delight in Himself

 
Psalm 115 3 pleases God webI had the wonderful time last night to watch some of God’s beautiful handiwork. It started with a wonderful sunset followed a few hours later by an incredible light show just north of us. My husband and I sat on the deck for at least half an hour watching flashes of lightning bounce from cloud to cloud and the cooling summer breezes blew over us following a hot, humid day.  As I sat there I wondered what God was thinking, doing during the flashes of lightning.  Was He wiggling His fingers in the clouds just to create some enjoyment for us to watch? Was He having fun stirring up the electrical charges that were bubbling out of the clouds? Or were the angels singing His praise and tonight they decided to show it with light?  I know those thoughts are trying to reduce God to human terms and there is no way that can ever be done. But as I watched the beauty of the sunset, the majesty of the cloud billowing higher and higher, the sun’s rays streaming toward heaven and then the incredible lightening show, I could only think of the glory of God.

I am reading John Piper’s book Desiring God and this morning he was sharing from Psalm 115:3 – “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.”  All I could do was think back to the sunset and lightening last night and again ponder God’s greatness, majesty and glory.

This Sunday our pastor will be preaching on the stoning of Stephen from Acts 7-8. We are focusing the opening of worship on Acts 7:55

“Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”

These instances made me ponder whether my life is a reflection of God’s glory. For surely I may not see as clearly as Stephen as he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, but last night I there was no denying that the Creator of the universe was clearly showing off a glimpse of His glory.

Praying God allows us to open our eyes to see more of those glimpses daily. May God abundantly bless you ~ Faye

Hope ~ A Season of Anticipation, Expectation & Remembering

It is the season of anticipation, expectation, eagerness and HOPE. As Christians we call the four Sundays prior to Christmas as Advent. We are eagerly awaiting Christ’s birth. I started a small Advent Bible study with Good Morning Girls today and was reading through several Bible passages that they provided.

Jeremiah 33:14 says,

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and He shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

God  tell us in Isaiah 60:19b, “… the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.” We won’t need the sun and the moon for our light. When we have God’s Son, Jesus Christ, in the depths of our heart, we will be filled with a light that will never go out. We anticipate that promised light first through the birth of Jesus, which we celebrate at Christmas, and second for His promised return.

I love the verse in Romans 15:13 that says,

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

But it wasn’t until I started reading about the HOPE we have during the season of Advent that I realized, or at least remembered, that this verse of hope-filled blessing comes after Paul is telling the Romans that Christ came for Jews and Gentiles. Paul reminds them of the promise from Isaiah, “The root of Jesse will come (King David’s father), even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” Then Paul reminds those of us not born of Jewish ancestry, that God is the God of hope because He has promised to send The Way of salvation to all people.

As I read all these verses on God’s plan of salvation from the first sin recorded in Genesis throughout the His Word, I was reminded of an article by Patrick Wood, Beyond His Hand. Wood talks about Sacred Remembrances as gifts from God’s Word that help us in our daily walk. The Israelites had countless opportunities to remember the way God provided for them — parting the water, manna and quail from heaven, water from the rock, sandals that never wore out in 40 years, and so  much more. These reminders could help shape the Israelites’ faith when they faced the giants in Canaan, but sadly the Israelites didn’t remember how God cared for their needs and answered their prayers.

During Advent we are encouraged to look back on the promises in God’s Word of the promised Savior. We often look at four key words – Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy in the countdown to celebrating Christ’s birth. This week is traditionally the week that focuses on Hope. Hope is defined as: “to cherish a desire with anticipation; or to expect with confidence.” As Christians we have the HOPE of a life forever with God where there is no more weeping, pain, destruction, chronic illnesses, loss of life, and so much more. We expect with confidence the hope of life everlasting through the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Wood encouraged his readers to focus on the Sacred Remembrances from God’s providence in our lives to help us in the tough times, the times when despair and hopelessness take over. We need to remember the time we took off half an hour late only to find ourselves sitting in an hour traffic jam as an accident that  happened a little earlier was being cleared off the road. We need to remember God’s provision of medications that help deal with an illness. We need to rejoice in the friends and family that come along side of us to encourage us when we are struggling with loss. Wood even encourages his readers to create a timeline of your life where you definitely saw God’s hand over the years and let those “landmarks” help convince you of the confidence you have deep within from God. These Sacred Remembrances help us see not only what God has done, but who God is – faithful, caring, giving, loving, gentle, gracious, merciful, the Great Physician …

In order for you to have that HOPE that is truly an expectation filled with confidence that Jesus Christ has come and will come again, take time to read God’s Word. Put His truths in your heart. Dwell on the Sacred Remembrances of ALL that God has done for you in your life and in the lives of those you love.

I encourage you to take the challenge I will take for myself this week. Go to your Bible or http://www.biblegateway.com and search the many passages that have the word HOPE in them.

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

God’s abundant blessings to you ~ Faye

We Will See Him

We will see His face and His name will be written on our foreheads

What a blessing to know that the best is yet to come. God is saving the absolute best gift for us – when we will see Him as He is. God will be revealed to us in ALL His resplendent glory. Moses saw only a glimpse of the backside of God and was transformed by His radiance.

Exodus 33:17-23 – The Lord replied to Moses, “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.” Moses responded, “Then show me Your glorious presence.”  The Lord replied, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will call out My name, Yahweh, before you. For I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose. But you may not look directly at My face, for no one may see Me and live.” The Lord continued, “Look, stand near Me on this rock. As My glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and let you see Me from behind. But My face will not be seen.”

Exodus 34: 29-30 – When Moses came down Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant because he had spoken to the Lord. So when Aaron and the people of Israel saw the radiance of Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near him.

The people all knew Moses had been in the presence of the Lord because God’s splendor shown on Moses. Can you imagine what happens the day we stand before God? We will be transformed – in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye.

God blesses our lives with so many good things – family, friends, His grace and mercy, wisdom, insight, joy and peace to name a few. But there will be a day when all the pains and difficulties of this life will be left behind. We will receive the ultimate healing in life – those who believe in Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior, will stand before Him and He will show us His face. The Lord’s face will shine on us and His countenance will shine upon us and we will be filled with His grace and peace.

We have incredibly abundant blessings today through God’s grace. However, we go through each day knowing that the best is yet to come – when we will see God face to face ~ Faye

I’m linked with Good Morning Girls and Beholding Glory.

 

Abundantly Blessed with God’s Grace!

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

Joy to the WORLD!

Sing a new song to the LORD, for He has done wonderful deeds. Shout to the LORD, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy! Sing your praise to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and melodious song, with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn. Make a joyful symphony before the LORD, the King! Let the sea and everything in it shout His praise! Let the earth and all living things join in. Let the rivers clap their hands in glee! Let the hills sing out their songs of joy before the LORD. For the LORD is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with fairness.                                                                                                                            Psalm 98:1,4-9 NLT

We were blessed to sing Joy to the World! yesterday in church. Afterwards, a friend said to me how much he loved the slide I had for the background.

He said how much it reminded him that people from every tongue and tribe in churches around the world were gathered together to praise the LORD. His enthusiasm and awe were very transparent and catching. He wondered what it was like for God to hear the praises of His people rise to heaven to give Him glory in a multitude of tongues, hearts bursting with joy.

This beautiful song was written by Isaac Watts. I have a book on the background of songs written by Kenneth W. Osbeck, Amazing Grace. Osbeck shares the emphasis of this Christmas hymn is the “reverent but ecstatic joy that Christ’s birth brought to mankind.” During Advent we focus on Christ’s birth on earth so that He could save sinful mankind from their sins and enjoy eternity with Him. The last part of Psalm 98 is a paraphrase of Joy to the World! Advent also focuses on Christ’s coming again to judge the world with justice and fairness.

As part of the background, Osbeck writes, “this psalm was intended by Watts to be a New Testament expression of praise.” Joy to the World was originally titled The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom. So glad it was renamed. But I wonder if it were known by the old name if we wouldn’t sing it more throughout the year. We sing it as a Christmas hymn, but don’t the worlds reflect what has happened, what is happening and what will happen. Our Heavenly Creator gave us a Redeemer to pour out His blood for our sins. His grace and mercy wash away our sinfulness. When the LORD rules the world, the curse of sin is broken and truth and grace shine throughout the world. Truly this is a song that should be sung year round because it tells the wonderful story of the Messiah’s coming and His kingdom.

During this holy-day season, when you sing Joy to the World remember two things 1) Christ came for you, to save you from your sins and give you eternal life when you accept Him as your Savior and LORD, and 2) you are privileged and blessed to join with millions throughout the world lifting your praises to the LORD for He has done wonderful deeds, when you lift your hearts and voices to sing

Joy to the world! the LORD is come! Let earth receive her King; let ev’ry heart prepare Him room, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth the Savior reigns. Let men their songs employ, while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.

Praying you thoroughly enjoy the blessing of knowing the LORD is come! ~ Faye

Content in Waiting

It’s Advent – a time of anticipating the coming of Christ’s birth; actually remembering and celebrating Christ’s birth more than 2,000 years ago.

I just finished my Bible study of 1 John. God loved us so much (even before we were born) that He sent His one and only Son so that we may have eternal life. The Apostle John is so persistent in wanting us to know this that he repeats it in John 3:16 – “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.” 1 John 3:16a – “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. …” 1 John 4:9 – “God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

John wants us to know all we need to do is believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, as our Savior and Redeemer. We will be saved. And one day, we will receive the gift of eternal life.

Advent is also a time of anticipating Christ’s coming again.

I was studying the bride of Christ recently and learned the future groom comes to the future bride’s father and gives a dowry as a betrothal that is a vow/covenant with the promise that he will come again to claim his bride. The man then returns to his father’s house to prepare a home for his future bride. Not until the man’s father says everything is ready for the bride does the groom return. He doesn’t even know when until the Father tells Him.

Comparing the church to the bride of Christ, it struck me that even Christ is anticipating His return. Christ has to wait – actively because He is preparing rooms for each one of His believers when He brings them home to eternal life.  Christ has to wait because He doesn’t know when He will return, only the Father does.

Our waiting should be active as well. I think one of my favorite and goal-setting verses from 1 John is 4:17 – “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” I CAN’T WAIT to see my LORD face to face. And I want to be able to boldly and confidently approach His throne because I have lived for Him filled with His love. There are many days I’m afraid I would be ashamed if Christ returned at that moment. However, if I remain in /abide in /belong to Him, I will live for Him and like Him. That will allow me to be bold and confident to approach His throne because I am filled with His love and humility.

Too often I find myself worrying about tomorrow or thinking of regrets in the past. I need to live in today loving and serving my God and King. I am being challenged by several readings lately to be content. A quote I read recently said “Contentment is a hallmark of living fully in the present, not in the past or future”. At first I totally agreed, especially if looking at the past involves regrets or the future worries. But I believe God has been challenging me to be content in all times.

Content in the past – It’s done. I continue to learn from what has happened.

Content today – Because God provides for all my daily needs.

Content in the future – even with all its uncertainty because I know Christ will return. I live with the anticipation from Psalm 27:4, “One thing I ask of the LORD and this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.”

Praying you may be blessed while you wait with anticipation for Christ’s return ~ Faye

Transformation

New BeginningsWe are so blessed!  We are filled with “the surpassing riches of God’s grace” in His kindness to us (Ephesians 2:7). God loves us. When we turn around and love God and believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are given an incredible gift.

1 Corinthians 15:51-57 tells of this gift:

“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have the incredible blessing of receiving this gift, but also the important responsibility of sharing this gift with others. The Advent season begins this Sunday. We are remembering Christ’s birth and anticipating His Second Coming.  Share this wonderful news with others around you, so they too, may enjoy the blessing of being transformed through God’s grace.

Enjoying God’s abundant blessings ~ Faye

Anticipation and Unconditional Love

I was reading 1 John 4:7-21 which focuses on – God is love, God’s unconditional love. When we are filled with His love, we have to share that love with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can’t keep it to ourselves.

As I was reading and reflecting on verses 17 and 18, I was filled with thoughts of what a wonderful blessing to even think of let alone imagine being the bride of Christ. When I read, “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear.” All I could picture was a honeymoon night where a couple comes together for the first time – somewhat shy, with anticipation but fully in love. That love overlooks the body faults and blemishes. Being the bride of Christ, I will be able to BOLDLY and CONFIDENTLY approach the judgment day because God sees me through LOVING EYES and the GRACE of Christ’s blood shed on the cross. He doesn’t see my sinfulness. I can’t imagine what it will be like to be in the ultimate experience of unconditional love, but I am SO READY! Come, LORD Jesus, come quickly!

The real focus of those verses are very challenging, at least to me. Mark 6:31-35 tells of Jesus talking to a crowd of people when His someone said His family was outside to see Him.

Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then He looked at those around Him and said, “Look, these are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and my sister and my mother.”

After reading that, I have to admit I have a large family in Christ that I need to be loving unconditionally. That includes loving some who have hurt me deeply. I need to surrender to God, seek His forgiveness, follow His will and leading. Then filled with His unconditional love, turn to others and love the people who are my family in Christ. I’m so grateful through God’s grace, forgiveness and love, He can change any heart – including mine.

In just a week and a half we will begin the Advent season. The anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth and looking forward to His coming again are exciting. These thoughts fill me with longing. But then I look at verses 20-21 – “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And He has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.” I realize it is really easy to get excited about anticipating Christ’s return, without looking at the responsibility of changing me. I love God! I can get lost in worshiping and glorifying God. But if I really LOVE GOD, I need to be showing this openly to my brother and sister in Christ.

I like the notes from my study Bible on our love grows more perfect  (v. 17).  It doesn’t mean flawless, but mature and complete.  It doesn’t mean I will be able to love perfectly and completely unconditionally as God. However, as I mature in my relationship with God, God’s love transforms me into the person He wants me to be.

Praise God as I grow in my love of Him, my fears are set aside for judgment day. I mature in my love for my family in Christ, and I eagerly anticipate the day I am taken as His bride in heaven.

I ENJOY singing And Can It Be by Charles Wesley, particularly the last verse: 

No condemnation now I dread, for Christ, and all in Him, is mine! Alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine, bold I approach the eternal throne and claim the crown through Christ my own. Amazing love, how can it be that You, my LORD, should die for me?

Enjoy the wonderful blessing of knowing we can BOLDING approach the throne of God through His Grace and LOVE!

God’s Abundant Blessings ~ Faye

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20john%204:7-21&version=NLT

Christ’s Appearing

Reading 1 John 3:1-3 this morning (following www.goodmorninggirls.org Bible study), and I was truly excited to read John’s opening words – we are God’s children, precious, valued, prized, loved. What a way to go into the day.

1 John 3:2 says, “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as He is pure.” – New Living Translation

What a glorious thought that we will be changed to be like Christ when appears/returns. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NLT) says,

51 “But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.”

When Christ  returns we will be made to be LIKE HIM. If we live a life with the EAGER EXPECTATION, we will live a life that honors Christ. We will make it a priority to keep ourselves pure. I like how The Message describes it: “All of us who look forward to His Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.” Glistening purity of Jesus’ life – I can’t even come close to describing what that will be like.

Seeing Christ as He really is when He appears to us at His second coming is just mind boggling. Knowing that we will be transformed to be like Him in an instant! How amazing. However, did you know Christ appears to you right now? I’ve gone through some disappointments and unmet expectations, especially living with a chronic, progressive disease; and recently have spent a lot of my time taking walks and talking with God. In the past when disappointments and unmet expectations have come, I’ve been quick to talk with family and friends, hoping in doing so it will help resolve the situation or make me feel better. In my times with God, I’m finding that there are times when Christ appears today too.  The other day it was not at all in the way I anticipated. I thought He’d have used someone close to me to fill the need I had.  But recently Christ has made it very real that He has been walking beside me listening to my heart’s longings, and when I am resting and trusting in Him, He gently guides me closer to Him so I can come along side His desire for my life. He is constantly shaping me to be like Him. I’m really looking forward to the quick transformational change that will happen when Christ returns again. I don’t like the long, drawn-out, painful process that He uses daily to transform me into His image. But I’m very grateful that He walks with me and talks with me when I choose to share with Him my heart’s thoughts. I’m so grateful to have a glimpse of His appearing this side of Heaven and His Second Coming.

May you enjoy the abundant blessing of God walk with you today

~ Faye

Eagerly Awaiting

I’ve been in a study through www.goodmorninggirls.org looking at 1 John. It’s been a good verse-by-verse study. Today we looked at 1 John 2:28-29:

“And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when He returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from Him in shame. Since we know that Christ is righteous, we also know that all who do what is right are God’s children.” – The New International Version

What blessed words from John – Beloved, my precious people, God’s Kids – REMAIN, ABIDE, STAND FIRM/STEADFAST in CHRIST and in so doing enjoy the fellowship of believers in ALL areas of your life.  The Message says, “Stay with Christ. Live Deeply in Christ.” J.B. Phillips says, “Live continually in Him.” How often do I let other things pull me away from my time with God?  How often do I ABIDE; live deeply/continually IN Christ?

When we pull away from God, our relationships with others suffer. However, when we ABIDE in  a close relationship with Christ, we will eagerly await His return and long to share that relationship with others. Imagine the child standing on her tiptoes waiting for daddy to come down the airport runway. She’s bouncing all over the place with anticipation to see her daddy return home from an extended time away. There is such eagerness and anticipation. Do I eagerly ANTICIPATE time with God? John asks, if our Savior would suddenly return or show His presence to us, would we hide our heads in shame and shirk away from Him because we had not REMAINED with Him?  I want to live with the focus of the song that just played on the radio – I Can Only Imagine, by MercyMe.  How will I respond to Christ’s return? Will I dance or be still, stand or bow down, speak or be speechless, but definitely I don’t want to be among those who have to pull away from Christ in shame. The image that comes to me is of Peter as he denied Christ for the third time as the rooster crowed. When Peter realized Christ’s prophecy came true he went away and wept bitterly. (Matthew 26:75) I want to be among the ones eagerly awaiting Him, singing “Alleluia! Glory to God in the Highest!  Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!”

When we pull away from God, it becomes more difficult to be with our fellow believers. It also seems like when we do not spend time in the fellowship of believers, we seem to pull away from God more. It’s like God created us to be dependent upon each other. So what?

I said this blog was to focus on God’s Blessings.  So it’s not just about how much I spend time ABIDING with God or even EAGERLY AWAITING His return. The blessing that I saw was when I was in the fellowship of believers yesterday.  Because of health issues the evening is not the best time for me, so I haven’t been participating in an evening Bible study. However, I decided to try it since it was on a six-week basis.  I was blessed by the discussion of the Bible study, but so much more by God’s plan of what happened afterwards. I was able to fellowship and talk to several people, catch up on their lives, and together we encouraged each other in our lives. I came away with a renewed desire to pray earnestly for each of these people and the challenges they are facing. So God’s blessings – I was able to spend time in the fellowship and closeness of fellow believers and in so doing I was able to praise and pray to God all the way home.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

May God abundantly bless you as you eagerly await Christ’s return,

Faye

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