Know My Heart

O LORD, You know my heart!

And OH, what a scary thought that is at times! He knows my desires. He knows my heart. He knows my thoughts before they are even formed. He knows them all; the good, the bad, the ugly, and He still Loves me.

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. ………For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; 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. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You. ………Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” – Psalms 139:1‭-‬6‭, ‬13‭-‬18‭, ‬23‭-‬24 NASB

Too bad we humans can’t be that way. Not to know each other’s every thought (how scary would that be!), but to love each other without regard for their thoughts. For me, the radical conservative, that looks like loving the raging liberal without judgement; not letting their views on socialism and my Saviour turn my regard into hate. It means that regardless of whether their actions and/or their behaviors disgust me, I will love them, just like JESUS loved me.

Even before I began as a simple zygote in my mother’s womb, GOD knew me and loved me. He knew how I would be as a child. He knew I would come to love Him as a child and young adult, and He knew precisely how, when, and for how long I would turn away from Him – and He loved me anyway. He knows to the second how long my life on earth will be. He knows that even now, as I write about how much He loves me, I struggle with the idea that He can love me, a sinner who continues who stumble and fall through life.

Why does He love us much? Why? We constantly – and continually – disappoint and hurt Him, sometimes inadvertantly, but oftentimes deliberately. We keep doing the things that we know are wrong. We desire things that aren’t good for us. We reject His Son and His sacrifice….. and He keeps on loving us.

AMAZING GRACE. Sweet Mercy. Unconditional Love.

I don’t understand why GOD, the Supreme and Mighty, All-powerful and All-encompassing, Creator, puts up with us puny little creatures who stand on the earth He created as we shake our collective fist at Him. I would have destroyed mankind eons ago and stuck with dogs and horses. They are much easier to deal with! Yet in spite of our rhetorical fist waving, God loved us – Loves us – enough to make the ultimate sacrifice. He sent His Son Jesus to live among us, to teach us, and to die for our sins so that we could have eternal life with Him.

Amazing Grace.

He knows your heart. Do you know His?

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My Saviour’s Love

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 NASB

In 1905, Charles H. Gabriel wrote these words:

I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus
the Nazarene
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous!
How wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!
For me it was in the garden He prayed:
“Not My will, but Thine.”
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous!
How wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!
He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary and
Suffered and died alone.
When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
’twill be my joy through the ages
to sing of His love for me!
How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous!
How wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!
How marvelous!
How wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!

It’s really hard for me to speak the words to this hymn. They strike a cord deep within my soul; the depth of feeling chokes me up. I am so amazed that Jesus could love me – me, a sinner. It’s hard, no, almost impossible, for me to comprehend.

He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.

Think about those words! Jesus, the Son of GOD, didn’t cry because of the horrible experience He was about to undergo; He sweat drops of blood for me, a sinner, unclean, flawed, and wholly undeserving of His Mercy.

He took my sins and my sorrows, He made them His very own; He bore the burden to Calvary and
Suffered and died alone.

My sins, my sorrows. Not His. Mine.

That last verse, though, WOW. When I get to see His Face, the voice that refuses to work here on earth will get to join the angels and the heavenly hosts, along with all of the other ransomed souls. We will raise our voices in Glorious Praise and Honor to our Saviour. His Love is so marvelous, so wonderful, so indescribable!

“To Him be the Glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” – 2 Peter 3:18b NASB

My Conduct In Life

Distractions abound! Alarms go off, phones ring, social media and email notifications pop and ding, music plays in the background, doorbells ring; there’s knocking on the door, yelling next door, dogs barking ……

What distracted you today before you had a chance to sit down with your LORD and spend a few minutes with Him, and before jumping into the day? I can’t speak for anyone else, but days I skip my sit down with Jesus aren’t nearly as good as the ones where I do. There tend to be more anxiety and irritations to deal with …… or it might just be that the anxiety and frustration feel worse because I missed my morning Peace. Not having that peace can make it difficult to conduct ourselves in a manner that our LORD can be proud of.

“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents – which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.” – Philippians 1:27‭-‬28 NASB

Conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a Bible scholar to figure out how to do it. Jesus makes it simple for even baby Christians to know how to act.

“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the Truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
John 3:20‭-‬21 NASB

All we need to do is practice the Truth. Turn away from evil, love God, and treat everyone (yes, everyone) like you want to be treated. Simple. Not always easy. Take a minute (or more) next time you get up. Talk to God. Tell Him how much you appreciate waking up. Thank Him for His Son, and the endless opportunities of a new day. I promise you, your day will be better. Love you all. Thanks for reading. May the Blessings of our Glorious LORD and Saviour pour down upon you and your families.

Victory

Oh Victory in Jesus, my Saviour, FOREVER….

Such a great hymn! Do you happen to know it? With so many churches going to Praise and Worship music, a lot of the older hymns are falling by the wayside, and people don’t get to hear the beautiful stories they tell. Don’t get me wrong! I love singing and praising the Lord, whatever the music. This one, Victory in Jesus, makes me want to jump up and raise my hands – think about it. We are Victorious!

” ‘No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their vindication is from Me,’ declares the LORD.” – Isaiah 54:17 NASB

No weapon. Isn’t that the perfect verse? And this:

“….. but thanks be to GOD, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:57 NASB

No matter what happens, my God has my back. When I’m in the midst of a crisis, even – especially even – when it’s one I have created, I don’t always remember this. I’m not in control of my life, regardless of how hard I try to be! We are all at the Mercy of the Living LORD. The enemy is constantly looking for ways to trip us up, and he will definitely use our own words and actions against us. He and his minions want us to fall and to fail, and to forget what we have to look forward to in our Eternity with Christ. If he can keep us looking behind us, focusing on our pasts, then we can’t be looking forward…… and when we aren’t looking forward, we trip. I don’t mean not to remember our pasts. It’s important to remember, so that we don’t go down those paths again. Just don’t dwell on it. (If you are OCD like me, you know that I am fully aware of just how difficult that can be!)

HOWEVER……

Look at these words the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus:

“Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory. For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:153-‬21 NASB

Our LORD, our Jesus, is not constrained by the bounds of sinful humanity. He can do anything, and He can do it in ways that are beyond our comprehension; beyond anything we can conjour up in our imaginations. Don’t be afraid to have honest conversations with Him. Ask Him for the desire of your heart. Be specific. Above all else, remember this:

” ‘No weapon that is formed against you will prosper’ ….. declares the LORD.” – Isaiah 54:17

Can I get an Amen???

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The GOD of ALL Grace

C.S. Lewis was asked what separates Christianity from ALL other religions. His answer: Grace.

All-encompassing, all-inclusive Grace, AMAZING Grace. “Grace, Grace, Marvelous Grace, Grace that is greater than all my sins!” We serve the GOD of ALL Grace; every kind of Grace, every variety of Grace. Did you ever stop and realize there are different kinds of grace?

“For by Grace you have been saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the Gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8‭-‬9 NASB

We are offered Saving Grace, the gift God offers to sinful, lost people; completely undeserved. It is not offered because of anything we can say or do, but because of His great and incomprehensible LOVE for us. Salvation is ALL Grace, totally, 100%, guaranteed with His Promise.

“…… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; …..” – Romans 3:23‭-‬24 NASB (also Romans 4:16, 11:6)

There is Suffering Grace. It is inevitable in this world that we will suffer, but it is temporary; a “little while” in light of eternity; and it is under God’s control. He uses suffering to temper us and to strengthen us, and we can bear it because He has all of eternity to make up for what we have suffered here. He will perfect us, mend us, make us whole. Remember Joel 2:25 “Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust…..” and 1 Peter 5:5b “….. and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives Grace to the humble.”

Paul understood Suffering Grace, perhaps more than any of us ever will. Read 2 Corinthians 11, especially verses 21-33. All of the Apostles suffered, but they knew it was temporary.

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of Glory far beyond all comparison …..” – 2 Corinthians 4:17 NASB

After you have suffered a little while, our God, Who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you His Eternal Glory. He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever. All Power to Him forever! Amen.” – 1 Peter 5:10‭-‬11‭ TLB

There is Sustaining, or Surviving Grace. This is our Eternal Glory, beyond the hurt and grind of this life. This is the Gospel of Grace – we are saved when we deserve the opposite…. and there is more to follow! All Grace is manifest in Christ. It is not, and can never be, our doing, because it was His dying on the cross that provides us with that Grace. Only the God of all Grace can see us to the end. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9, Philippians 1:6) The good news is that my past is my PAST, never to be lived again. I am Forgiven through Grace. Blessed be the LORD, The God of ALL Glory, He has an unlimited supply of forgiveness and salvation through Grace!

“But by the Grace of God I am what I am, and His Grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the Grace of God with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:10 NASB

Amazing Grace.

GOD is My Refuge and Strength

“GOD is our Refuge and Strength, A very present help in trouble.” – Psalms 46:1 NASB

Big Daddy Weave sings this song called Alive. Here’s an excerpt:

I am far from being perfect
There are days that I regret
On this battlefield I struggle
With the lies that I have lived
I have fallen short of glory
I can’t make it on my own
If You kept record of my past
I’d be sinking like a stone

But God, rich in mercy
You came to save me
Now I’m alive**

Without Him, where would I be? Probably not alive! Oh, God, how I need You in my life! There is nothing I can do or say that can negate that, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. His Mercy and Grace sustain me. Everyday life gets to me sometimes, tying my stomach in knots when siruations spiral out of my control….. which means my stomach is tied in knots a lot!

Can the God Who created the Universe care about me and my everyday concerns? Can He, does He, care about my feelings? Jesus says that not only He can care, He does care about each and every single one of us!

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” ….. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25‭, ‬33‭-‬34 NASB

Whenever I catch myself getting tense and anxious, these are the verses I need to be thinking of. No matter what is going on, He is with me.

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose Word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” – Psalms 56:3‭-‬4‭, ‬8 NASB

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NASB

What are you anxious about today? What twists your mind and your stomach into knots; what are you afraid of? Spend time in prayer, just talking to the LORD. It still amazes me that I can have a conversation with Him!

Thank You, LORD, for sending Your Son so that I can have a life in eternity with You. All the petty things in this life that I get twisted into knots over – I know in my heart You have it all under control! Now, if you could just get my head to follow along….. The relationship I pray for is in your hands. My home, my finances, my health. Thank You for removing those burdens from my soul. In Your Precious Name, I lay my heart. Amen.

**Alive by Big Daddy Weave Publishing: © So Essential Tunes / Fellow Ships Music (SESAC). Admin by Essential Music., Be Essential Songs / Anthems of Hope / Westeria Drive (BMI). Admin by Essential Music., So Essential Tunes / Hickory Bill Doc (SESAC). Admin by Essential Music / Writer(s): Jason Ingram, Zach Williams, and Jonathan Smith

Trust and Obey

I remember standing in church as a child and a youth, singing Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, than to Trust and Obey. I believed it; I knew, deep in my heart, the profound Truth in the words. I knew Solomon was right when he wrote this proverb:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5‭-‬6 NASB

Even then, knowing what I knew, I didn’t let myself completely trust God, especially once I hit the teen years. I began to believe the enemy’s lies. I viewed myself as unlovable – not pretty enough, or popular enough. My body didn’t look good enough. I wasn’t as smart as my older sister or good enough to be part of my brother’s life. My voice wasn’t as clear as I thought it should be, and my range was too limited. I wasn’t one of the ‘popular’ girls. I hated that I was so painfully, excruciatingly shy, and that I wasn’t strong enough to overcome it.

The enemy was winning that battle, and I gave up; surrendered to him for years. As in Ezekiel’s time, I became like the dry bones:

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry.” – Ezekiel 37:1-2 NASB

My God is stronger than our enemy!

“Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord .'” – Ezekiel 37:5‭-‬6 NASB

“And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” – Isaiah 58:11 NASB

I learned over the years that Isaiah was right, too! The world we live in is like the velley Ezekiel was in, full of the dry bones of people who don’t know the goodness of the LORD; who haven’t received His Mercy and His Grace. Testify of the Goodness of the Lord! Expose the enemy for what he is: deceiver, manipulator, the Father of Lies. We may lose a skirmish, but the war has been won. The battle belongs to the LORD…… and the enemy knows it!

“….. for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” – 1 Samuel 17:47 NASB

AMEN!