Made right

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Today I am mulling over the incredible truths in Romans 5:1-17. Let us read the New Living Translation of these verses together.

5 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

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.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

There truly is no explaining or understanding the love of God for us. There is also no earning His love. There is no doing enough to make Him love us more or not doing enough that will make Him love us less. He loves us unconditionally and perfectly. He chose to love us and demonstrated His “great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (verse 8).

We. Have. Been. Made. Right. In. God’s. Sight. By. The. Blood. Of. Christ.

No more condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). That guilt and shame that haunts? Baseless. Total forgiveness is ours because of Christ Jesus, as is the grace to turn from sin.

We. Have. Been. Made. Right. In. God’s. Sight. By. The. Blood. Of. Christ.

And if that was not enough to praise God unceasingly for, we also have peace with God, and stand, “in a place of undeserved privilege” (verse 2).  These blessings enable us to know there is purpose to our trials and challenges.

We. Have. Been. Made. Right. In. God’s. Sight. By. The. Blood. Of. Christ. 

Thank You, Father. Thank You. Give us a fresh and true revelation of this truth so that we never again read, hear, sing, or speak of what You did for us without a sense of wonder, worship, and profound gratitude.  

 

 

From sunrise to sunset and in all other moments

When morning gilds the skies 

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my heart awaking cries:

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May Jesus Christ be praised! WP_20150504_011

When evening shadows fall,

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this rings my curfew call

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May Jesus Christ be praised!

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The words quoted above are some of the lyrics from the classic hymn, May Jesus Christ be praised (When morning gilds the skies). I learned the hymn as a child; however, it is as an adult that I am learning the full truth underlying the lyrics – God is worthy of my praise and is to be praised at all times and in all circumstances. Also, the choice to praise is  Him is always within my power.

The  complete lyrics can be found here.

Joy Unleashed: Elizabeth and Mary

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When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly,

You’re so blessed among women,
    and the babe in your womb, also blessed!
And why am I so blessed that
    the mother of my Lord visits me?
The moment the sound of your
    greeting entered my ears,
The babe in my womb
    skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.
Blessed woman, who believed what God said,
    believed every word would come true!

And Mary said,

I’m bursting with God-news;
    I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
    I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
    on those who are in awe before Him.
He bared His arm and showed His strength,
    scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
    pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
    the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
    He remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what He promised,
    beginning with Abraham and right up to now. (Luke 1: 39-55)

Prayer:  Father, this Christmas, as we read and hear familiar passages of Scripture, may we experience a fresh sense of wonder and joy, as if we were being told of Your indescribable love for the first time.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Five Minute Friday (and Reasons to Praise: Day 31 – Leave)

Five Minute Friday

GO

“Leave”

I read the prompt and His words sprung up in my spirit strong

Wrapped themselves around my heart like a salve

Pouring in oil and wine

Moving me to tears with its firm assurance.

“Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.”

Never

Not through the waters

Not through the fire

Not through the darkness that seems to hide My face

Not through the betrayals

Not through the leavings that come through endings

Caused by physical death

Or life choices

Never

Always there

24/7

Every day

Every season

Never

Not one moment when I am not with you

Not one second when I have even looked away

Much more walked away

Never will I leave you

Not when you sin

Not when you fail

Not when you doubt

Not when you pout, resist my Sprit, openly rebel

Choose your own way instead of Mine

Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake You.

I keep My promises always

So know that I will keep this one also

As impossible as this may seem

Especially when you think of all that has ended

Put you together in your mother’s womb

And will bring you safely home.

Never will I leave you.

Never.

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STOP

Father, thank You for Your promise and thank You that you are the Promise Keeper.

This post is number 31 for the series, “Reasons to Praise.” Thanks to all who have walked with me through the month of October by reading one, several, or all of the posts in this series. Thanks to Kate Motaung for the invitation. Joining her for  31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Five Minute Friday.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 30 – First

GO

First

Having to do with time, as in beginning

With order, as in he is first in line

And importance, as in top priority

We see first attached to various things

Churches

Banks

Credit Unions

Restaurants

Thrift stores

Musicians

Birth order

Gears

Kits designed to provide aid

But when I think of the truest definition of first, “preceding all others in time, order, or importance” and “foremost in position, rank, or importance,’ I realize that there is only One Who precedes all others in time, order, or importance. Only one Who is foremost in position, rank or importance … the Son.

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STOP

Father, thank You that You are the First and the Last; The process of making You first in my life and keeping You first, Your rightful position, is an ongoing, moment by moment decision. Help.

This post is number 30 in the series, “Reasons to Praise.” Joining Kate Motaung for 31 days of Five Minute Free Writes.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 29 – Unite

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Father,

These two verses speak to the fact that I can have a divided heart. They also speak to the fact that, regardless of what divides my heart, pulls it in different directions (and the list can be long), You are the only one who can unite my heart, cause it to be undivided.

You are the only one with the ability to unite my heart, a condition that is necessary so that I can fear Your Name. The fear, the reverence, the awe of You that Your Word declares is the beginning of wisdom. The fear that drives out the fear of man and all other fears that bring torment.

You are the only one who can give me singleness of heart. The singleness of heart that I need to obey You without reservation, as did the children of Judah. Father, give me an undivided heart. Unite my heart. Give me singleness of heart. Such a heart will align my priorities with Yours. Will hold the desires that You have. Father, unite my heart.

STOP

This post is number 29 in the series “Reasons to Praise.” Joining Kate Motaung for 31 days of Five Minute Free Writes.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 28 – Wake

GO

“Wake.” Defined as “to cause a person or animal to be awake after sleeping and to stop sleeping; to become awake after sleeping.”

To cause someone to stop sleeping.

I think of how often I use and hear the statement, “I woke up this morning at such and such a time.” I woke up. Sometimes I think the emphasis is placed on the I as if it was by my own doing that I woke up. With this emphasis, I miss the reality of the miracle that He was the one Who woke me up. He was the one Who granted me another day. He was the cause of my awaking after sleep.

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In fact He is the One in whom I do everything.

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He wakes me up physically but also wakes me up spiritually and in other areas because sometimes I am sleep walking though my life. He has used circumstances as well as His Word to wake me up to my need of Him and His purpose for my life.

STOP

Father, thank You for the reminder that I need You to be and I need You to do … everything.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 27 – Free

GO

A bird gliding or soaring up above is one of the images that comes to mind when I think of the word, “free.” I also think of three verses in the Bible that talk about freedom.

Isaiah 61:1

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 Speaking of Jesus, hundreds of years before His first Advent, Isaiah declares that one of the reasons for the Messiah’s coming was to set prisoners free.

  Slide2Jesus tells us in John 8:36 that when He sets us free we are truly free.

 Paul writing to the Galatians tells them that Christ sets us free so that we can remain free. And he warns them to not allow themselves to be imprisoned or enslaved again.

Slide3The fact that we can become re-enslaved by our own actions from what God sets us free is sobering, and I wondered, “What is one of the things that we can allow ourselves to be re-enslaved by?” The answer? Unforgiveness.

No one deserves forgiveness, including me. It begins with a decision, one that I choose to make in obedience to God and with His help, and with the knowledge that the one who benefits most from forgiving someone is me.

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STOP

Father, I do not deserve Your forgiveness and especially not the incomprehensible price You paid to be able to forgive me.  Thank You that that the truths of Philippians 2:13 and 4:13 apply to the task and journey of forgiving.

This post  (which took longer than 5 minutes) is number 27 in the series, “Reasons to Praise.” Joining Kate Motaung for 31 days of Five Minute Free Writes.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 26 – Visit

GO

Visiting family is a source of great joy for me. But what brings me even greater joy (or should I say a different type of joy?) is having family visit me. Surprise visits are wonderful because of the joy of an unexpected blessing; however, I truly enjoy planned visits. The anticipation of a loved one’s arrival. Taking the time to prepare. To do everything within my power to let them know from the moment they arrive to the time the leave, that I am thrilled and thankful to have them in my home. They appreciate my preparations but I also know that it would not matter to them if I did not put forth any special effort. They just appreciate the time, the pleasure of being together.

Long conversations are a hallmark of these visits. Taking place around the dining room table. The kitchen. The living room. In bedrooms. But silence is also embraced without concern that the absence of words means that something is always wrong.

Visits, however, even when they last a long time, are by their very nature temporary. We see examples of this in the Bible when God’s angels visited various individuals with messages from Him or when God Himself showed up, as “The Angel of the LORD.”

How wonderful that for us who live under the new covenant, God does not (typically) visit us as He did in the OT. He takes His abode, He resides in us by His Spirit and we also take up residence in Him. Yes. Yes Yes.

STOP

Father, thank You for loved ones and for the blessings of visits with them. Thank You also, that our bodies are Your temple and our lives are in hid in You.

This post is number 26 in the series “Reasons to Praise.” Joining Kate Motaung for 31 days of Five Minute Free Writes.

31 Days of Five Minute Writes

Reasons to Praise: Day 25 – Enjoy

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Children have to be taught many things: to share, be mannerly, tie their laces, button their shirts, etc. But one ability they seem to be born with is the ability to enjoy things, experiences, moments. It is likely we have all watched a child eating an ice-cream cone or a favorite food. Their eyes sparkle. They want to enjoy the very last drop. Their feet sometimes move to a rhythm they alone can hear. Enjoyment.

If children are born knowing how to enjoy their life, it means that we all had this ability at one time. What happened? Do we lose this ability as we age? Or does the rush and tumble of life bury our ability to enjoy what He has given? And it is all from Him.

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The “when … then” mindset is an all too familiar one, for example, “When ‘this” happens I will slow down and enjoy things more. But I wonder, when I do not take the time to enjoy what He gives now, is this ingratitude? We are told that He gives us everything to enjoy.

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I believe He wants us to do so now. How about it?

STOP

Father, May I be better at taking time to enjoy what You so richly give, and in so doing, live more from a place of gratitude, intentionally expressing to You the thanks You deserve.

This post is number 25 in the series, “Reasons to Praise.” Joining Kate Motaung for 31 days of Five Minute Free Writes.