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.  

 

 

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Those who are wise worship Him

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“To worship Him.” This was the reason the Magi (wise men) came. Travelling from their homes in the East to Jerusalem then to the place where Jesus was residing. It is estimated that their journey lasted several months to over one year. It was not an overnight trip or a spontaneous one. But it was a journey they deemed worth the time, distance, and effort, “to worship Him.”

We too come to the Messiah, the Word made flesh. We come and do so at His invitation. We come for various reasons because our needs are varied and numerous and only He can meet them all.

But when we come, let us first worship Him.

Worship:

An active response to the character, words and actions of God, initiated by His revelation and enabled by His redemption, whereby the mind is transformed (e.g. belief, repentance), the heart is renewed (e.g. love, trust), and actions are surrendered (e.g. obedience, service), all in accordance with His will and in order to declare His infinite worthiness.”1

 “… the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His Beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.2

Dr. Michael L. Williams, pastor, author, Christian Educator and Biblical counselor notes, “Every decision is an act of worship. Worship is based on our salvation and reflects the Spirit and truth of God and His Word. Worship reminds us of our position before God and His worthiness and position above us. Worship is for God’s glory, praise, and honor.3 

May we end this year in a place of worship and begin 2017 in a place of worship. And remain there all year long. For those who are wise worship Him.

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In 2017, may you and those you love experience prosperity as God defines it.

Blessings,

Esther

YOU are: An Anthem of Praise

you-are

You are the only wise God

You are perfect in all Your ways and loving toward all that You have made

You chose me in Christ Jesus before the world began

You keep all Your promises

You redeemed me from the curse of the law

You call me by my name

You have counted all the hairs on my head

You know every tear I have ever cried and keep them in a bottle

You know every word I speak before I even think it

You order my steps

You forgive my sins

You are my shelter

You give abounding grace

You have a good plan for my life

You are holy

You are righteous

You are faithful

You are the Ancient of days

You are the Alpha and Omega

You are the One in whom I live and have my being

You are perfect in all of Your ways

You never sleep and slumber

You are my present help in time of trouble

You give me a song in the night

You strengthen me by Your Spirit in my inner man

You offer life and that more abundantly

You are Lord of  all

You are El Shaddai, the multibreasted one

You are my Shepherd

You are my defense

You are my shield

You will guide me all my days

You are love and have loved me with an everlasting love

You are Almighty

You will reign forever

You are Sovereign

You alone are Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient

You are …

 

Day 6 of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes . Today’s prompt is “You.”

Click here for previous posts in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes the series.

My Shepherd is with me

Psalm 23, which was shared as this week’s Monday Vitamins, is one of my favorite psalms. It embodies, to me, the intimate, personal, loving relationship God makes it possible for us to have with Him, a relationship that is summarized in verses 1 and 4:

“The LORD is my shepherd” (verse 1a) and “For You are with me” (verse 4b).

Much has been written about the LORD being our Shepherd; I will focus on an excerpt from the Reformation Study Bible’s commentary on Psalm 23:1; “The shepherd stays with the flock (Is. 40:11)… His sheep are totally dependent upon him for food, water, and protection from wild animals.”

Dr. Shermaine Y. Sanders, highlights several characteristics of sheep and their related need for a shepherd:

  • Sheep habitually “stray into running creeks for water, causing their wool to grow heavy and as a result, they drown!” Consequently, they need a shepherd to lead them “…beside…still waters” (Psalm 23:2).
  • Sheep lack natural means of defense such claws or horns. Therefore, they need a shepherd with “…a rod and…staff.”
  • Sheep do not have a sense of direction. As such “they need a shepherd wise enough to lead them ‘in paths that are right’ (Psalm 23:3). Or ‘in the right direction’, says The Message Bible.”

She also notes that, as believers, we are very similar to sheep. For example, we “tend to drown in circumstances we should have avoided; are without natural defenses against our true enemy, ‘who goes about as a “roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”’ (1 Peter 5:8 NAS).”

I am thankful that each of us who have accepted His gift of salvation can truthfully say, “The LORD is my Shepherd” and “You are with me,” always, and experience His guidance, protection, provision, and presence.  May these truths sink deep into our beings and bring peace.

The best kind of wondering

Today’s post is inspired by the comment of a fellow blogger who feels like a kindred spirit, although we have not met in person. She noted, in response to my most recent post, “… to wonder at God’s character and love is the best kind of ‘wondering.’”  As I reflected on her words, I was inspired to share words which, to me, are an example of “the best kind of wondering.”

I pray that we all end 2015 engaged in this “the best kind of wondering” and commit to engage in the practice throughout 2016. We can count on His best for the new year as we live from a place of surrender and gratitude. Blessings.

“I stand in awe”*

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom?
Who can fathom the depth of Your love?
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty, enthroned above

CHORUS
And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God, to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You

VERSE 2
You are beautiful beyond description
Yet God crushed You for my sin
In agony and deep affliction
Cut off that I might enter in
Who can grasp such tender compassion?
Who can fathom this mercy so free?
You are beautiful beyond description
Lamb of God who died for me

© 1986 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

*by Mark Altrogge. Lyrics from the website http://sovereigngracemusic.org/Songs/I_Stand_in_Awe/23

Monday Vitamins: The Love of Advent

The song, “Noel,” sung by Lauren Daigle on Chris Tomlin’s Christmas album, Adore, moved me deeply the first time I heard it, and its impact seems to deepen each time I listen. If the gospel can be summed up in one song, “Noel” does so, for me. I experience a sense of wonder when I hear Lauren Daigle exult, “Noel. Noel. Come and see what God has done…Story of amazing love.” Indeed.

 Love incarnate, love divine
Star and angels gave the sign
Bow to babe on bended knee
The Savior of humanity
Unto us a Child is born
He shall reign forevermore

Chorus
Noel, Noel
Come and see what God has done
Noel, Noel
The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us
Noel

Verse 2
Son of God and Son of man
There before the world began
Born to suffer, born to save
Born to raise us from the grave
Christ the everlasting Lord
He shall reign forevermore

Lyrics from http://worshiptogether.com/songs/noel-chris-tomlin/

 

 

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.