Notre Dame fire

For the past 2 days many of us have followed updates on the tragic fire at the 850-year old Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.  I’ve had a fascination with France and the French language since 2004, while I was still in High School, and French was one of my main subjects for 3 years when I completed my degree.  Combined with my love for history and historic places, this tragedy has touched my heart, and I am saddened that I will never get to visit this amazing architectural wonder in its original form.

Yet, for the past 2 days I have been constantly reminded of Scriptures as I followed the news.  In sharing this, I don’t wish to belittle this tragedy in any way, or imply that it’s insignificant or that God doesn’t care about it.  I believe He cares.  These Bible verses have simply quite significantly come to my mind as I followed the progress of this event, and I hope it will encourage each one reading it.

Notre_Dame_Eiffel_Tower

For someone who has never visited France or the Notre Dame before, some of the photos that I saw online seemed unidentifiable, without enough context.  Until I saw this photo above.  As I saw the landmark Eiffel Tower in the background, smoke rolling up into the sky, I was reminded of the following Scripture:

“Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?  Did not my hand make all these things?’ ”
~ Acts 7:48-50 ~
“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man…”
~ Act 17:24 ~

What a terrible state we would be in if our amazing Creator-God was limited to living in man-made buildings?  My mind keeps thinking that, if my God had been limited to houses made by human hands, this 850-year old cathedral might have been a quite significant house for Him.

But He doesn’t.

God is the Creator of each tree that had been used as beams in the Notre Dame, each stone and the iron from which the nails were made.  He created the humans who planned and built it, and gave each of them the inspiration and talents to do it.

But He is omnipresent – everywhere at every moment, intimately involved in everything and every person He created.  He lives in Heaven and everywhere on Earth, and everywhere in between.  (See Acts 7 above.)  He lives in us when we accept Him and He stays (“dwells”) with us when we open the doors of our lives to Him. (Revelation 3:20)  He gives us His Holy Spirit to help us wherever we go.

No, my God is not limited to buildings, how impressive they may be.

“Only what’s done for Christ will last…”

The_cross_will_stand.jpg

This picture started circulating shortly after the fire had been put out, with plenty of inspiration going with it.  It reminded me of a poem by C.T. Studd, by the name of Only One Life.  The final two lines of each stanza throughout the poem is:

Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 3:9-17 that we are God’s temples.  See the picture above as a spiritual picture, and as you read the Scripture below, keep in mind that it’s not a reflection on the physical building of the Notre Dame, but that the above photo is a picture of God’s spiritual Truth:

“… ye are God’s building.  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.  But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss:  but he himself shall be saved;  yet so as by fire.  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

It’s a hard Word to read this morning.  We each have the responsibility to take care of God’s Holy temple – ourselves:  body, soul and spirit – and to live a life that will withstand the test of time.  If our lives are not filled with acts of kindness, love, compassion and forgiveness – just like Jesus showed us through His Life – we might be saved and in heaven with Him one day, but leaving no legacy of the One Who saved us for future generations.

I do believe that the builders of the Notre Dame built something that withstood the test of time.  A building that stood for 850 years is very, very impressive, and no small feat!  But what is left in the ruins points us to God Who came down to die for His creation, suffering incredible damage to His Body so that, after the fire, we may live eternally in a city made of pure gold, with our very Creator.

As we see more of the Notre Dame fire in the news, may you be reminded of the Cross that withstood the test of all time, and the love of your Saviour that suffered death and hell to spend eternity with you.

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Judgement vs. Acceptance

When I was 6 years old my step-grandmother committed suicide.  She had been battling with depression for many, many years, and she finally came to the point when she felt she just couldn’t go on…

Us children were kept from seeing anything traumatic, but my parents told us what had happened and sympathetically explained that she was sick, and that she had shot herself because she didn’t know how to live anymore.  They explained that this isn’t how God wants us to die, but that it didn’t mean my grandmother wasn’t a child of God.  I remember that myself (aged 6), my cousin (aged 7) and my sister (aged 3) said a prayer that evening in innocent sincerity to ask Jesus to forgive my grandmother for taking her own life.

Although I can recall what happened since we got the call, I am lucky enough that it wasn’t really a traumatic event for me.  There was, however, a single fact of the circumstances under which my grandmother died, that has influenced my life and being immensely:  when she pulled the trigger, her Bible lay opened next to her, with the following Bible verse highlighted:

“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”
~ Matthew 7:1-2, ESV

“Judge not…”

Even though I seldom thought on the events of her passing, these words were etched into my heart as a final truth that she shared on her death-bed, and it’s one of the Scriptures that have most influenced my being.

In the course of my work, I had a discussion with a person of another faith yesterday.  It was an open, somewhat philosophic discussion, and although I have no desire to follow their religious beliefs, I am adamant about being respectful towards it.  When I drove home, I prayed and realized that the opposite of judgement is acceptance.

One of my deepest desires is to live a life that is free of judgement.  I pray that any kind of person will feel welcome in my company, that they will feel accepted and never judged when they are around me.  I have the active mindset that since God is the Only One Who knows each of our deepest beings, our complete history as well as every circumstance that have influenced who we are right now… that He is the Only One Who can ever judge a human being.  It is not my place or responsibility to decide on the fate of anyone else, based on what they do or believe, because if Jesus Christ could forgive and save a murderer on the cross (Luke 23:39-43) – in his last moments, with nothing to offer – then I have no business trying to pass a judgement on people based on what they do.

This doesn’t mean that any action or deed is acceptable or right.  Let me illustrate an example:  I can personally never be reconciled with the idea of abortion, BUT it does mean that I am conscious not to judge people who have chosen to abort a baby.  I realize that people make choices with the information they have on hand at the moment – and whether these choices are truly right or wrong, the person who made the choice thought they did what was right or best.  It causes me to respond to them with compassion and acceptance of their person, even when they did something that I believe to be wrong.

Isn’t this how Jesus responded to those He met during His life?  You only have to read the Gospels to see that the judgemental, proud, “religious” folk were very uncomfortable with Him, but that the sinners were welcomed and accepted by Him.  He knew their complete history and beings, and what caused them to do what they did, and He knew that they would be drawn to God when they see His love.  They were accepted in Jesus’ company – not because Jesus endorsed their wrong actions, but because He understood and had compassion for each person.  (Matt. 9:36, Matt. 14:14, Matt. 15:32, Matt. 20:34, Mark 1:41, Luke 7:36-50, Luke 19:5, John 8:11)

What a beautiful place the world would be if every Christian were to respond to a broken world with compassion instead of judgement.  How many broken-hearted people could receive the love of a Saviour if they felt accepted when coming to a church service.  And… how broken might our Father’s heart feel when we try to pass a judgement on people He created, that Only HE is qualified to do…

The Bible says that there will be a day of judgement, but it is not yet.  (Matt. 12:36)  Until then, each person – regardless of any factor – CAN be saved, and it’s not my place to condemn them for sinning different than me.  May God have mercy to help me reflect His light and love in this broken world, that others will desire to know Him even as He knows them.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
~ Matthew 5:16

Blessings*

If it’s Amazing Grace

There comes a time when we all take a breath,
admit who we are, with all our mess;
stand there and tremble and hope for the best –
knowing it’s out of our hands…

But if it’s Amazing Grace, let it do what it does:
it can reach far beyond anything we have done!
Truth is, there’s just some things that cannot be explained…
It’s gonna find a way if it’s Amazing Grace.

Many before us have stood on that ledge –
arguments filling their hearts and their heads
to only discover that it’s all been true:
that it can make anyone new!

Chorus

It crashes through darkness;  shatters our shame!
We can run all we want, it keeps calling our names…
It’s strong and relentless;  full of forgiveness;
No depth it won’t go, just to save…

But if it’s Amazing Grace, let it do what it does:
it can reach far beyond anything we have done!
Truth is, there’s just some things that cannot be explained…
It’s gonna find a way if it’s Amazing Grace;

it’s gonna find a way if it’s Amazing Grace
I know my heart’s been changed by this Amazing Grace.

~ Written by:  Chris Cleveland, Michael Farren & Seth Mosley
Performed by:  Stars Go Dim ~

Majesty (Here I am)

Here I am, humbled by Your Majesty…
covered by Your grace so free.  (Eph. 2:8)
Here I am, knowing I’m a sinful man,  (Rom. 3:23)
covered by the Blood of the Lamb…  (Eph. 1:7, 1 John 1:7, 1 Peter 4:8)

Now I’ve found the greatest love of all is mine  (John 15:13)
since You laid down Your life:  the greatest sacrifice!

Majesty, Majesty…
Your grace has found me just as I am:
empty handed, but alive in Your hands.  (John 10:29)

Here I am humbled by the love that You give;  (1 John 4:19, Rom. 5:8)
forgiven so that I can forgive.  (Col. 3:13, Matt. 6:14)
So here I stand, knowing that I’m Your desire,  (Job 14:15)
sanctified by glory and fire.  (1 Pet. 4:12)

Now I’ve found the greatest love of all is mine
since you laid down your life:  the greatest sacrifice!

Majesty, Majesty…
Your grace has found me just as I am:
empty handed, but alive in Your hands.
Majesty, Majesty…
Forever I am changed by Your love
in the presence of Your Majesty… Majesty…

[Instrumental]

Majesty, Majesty!
Your grace has found me just as I am:
and I’m nothing, but alive in Your hands.  (Isaiah 40:17; read in context!*)
Majesty, Majesty!
Forever I am changed by Your love
in the beauty of Your Majesty…

~ Written by:  Stu Gerrard & Martin Smith
Performed by:  Delirious? ~

* Footnote about Isaiah 40:17

The Book of Isaiah is filled with Scriptures that declares God’s Almighty Sovereignty, and His righteousness in contrast with our sinfulness.  I absolutely love this book in the Bible, because woven throughout the text that shows us how big our God is, are amazingly beautiful verses that describe how much He loves us, particularly from Isaiah 40 onward.  Below are a few of these examples, all to be read in context, but such beautiful declarations of Almighty God’s love for His children (Gal. 3:27-29, Col. 3:10-11):

“But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.
For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee…” Is. 41:8-10, 13

“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, o Jacob, and He that formed thee, o Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine…” Is. 43:1

“Yet now hear, o Jacob my servant: and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, o Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen…” Is. 44:1-2

“Remember these, o Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: o Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee…” Is. 44:21-22
(This passage actually reminds me of the story of Hosea, who redeemed (bought) the prostitute woman and loved her in spite of her turning back to her old ways.)

“Thus saith the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holdenI will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight… For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.” Is. 45:1-2, 4) (See Romans 5:8 & 1 John 4:19 above)

“Hearken unto me, o house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: And even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Is. 46:3-4

“Sing, o heavens; and be joyful, o earth; and break forth into singing, o mountains: for the LORD hath comforted His people, and will have mercy upon His afflicted. But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before me.” Is. 49:13-16

“For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is His Name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall He be called. For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.” Is. 54:5-8

Psalm 139

“Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”

~ Psalm 239:23-24, KJV ~

When I read this Scripture, I am reminded of a beautiful explanation of these verses that I saw on a video by The Skit Guys.  If you know the Skit Guys’s videos, you’ll know that although these are incredibly deep verses, they are a comedy duo that aims to teach Biblical Truths in a humorous, practically applicable way. It’s also worth mentioning that their target audience for this video (and many other) are teenagers.

*Please watch this video with an open mind, and as a humorous explanation of the verses.

Hope you’ll enjoy this video as much as I did, and that you’ll find in the above verses a most beautiful prayer.

The Skit Guys refer to a few different Bible Versions in their explanation of these verses. You can compare different translations at BibleHub.com.

They mentioned another of their videos, God’s Chisel, which is completely worth watching! [God’s Chisel Remastered]

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
~ Psalm 51:10, KJV ~

Being known

A few weeks ago, I had a moment with my husband where, for a moment, I knew what he was thinking. It happens when people know each other very well, and if you’ve spent a lot of time together. You start to recognize situations, or you remember a previous conversation or circumstance, and sometimes, you just know what the other person is thinking as a situation occurs.

In a second, God drew my attention to Himself.

There are a few passages in the Bible when Jesus answered the scribes and Pharisees’ thoughts without them having to say a word. I’ll highlight a few for you:

“But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?’ ” – Matthew 9:4 (ESV)

“When Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered them, ‘Why do you question in your hearts?’ ” – Luke 5:22 (ESV)

I had always thought that Jesus knew their thoughts because He is God, simply because He is all-knowing and He knew all their darkness and evil motives. But, in that moment, I realized something incredibly beautiful.

Jesus knew their thoughts because these individual persons were indescribably loved by Him. He knew these people as individuals, loving their personality traits and quirks and knowing their concerns. In spite of their attitude towards Him, Jesus had an immensely deep love for these persons, just as He loves every human He ever created (again, in spite of what they do / don’t do).

He knew their thoughts, because He knew them.

Suddenly, I don’t read these passages of Scripture with a smug attitude, as if Jesus answered their thoughts out of pride or to show Himself off to them*. Instead, I read these with a sense of Jesus’ deep compassion and love, and I imagine Him with care asking them these questions so that they can realize how unreasonable they were being. (Refer to the passages in context at the bottom of this post.) He was helping them out of love, guiding them to a better understanding of what God’s Law was really about.

I thank God for the compassionate love He has for each of us. I am grateful that Jesus knows and loves me and all about me, in spite of my flaws and failures, and that He will take the time to address my thoughts so that I can realize my need for (more of) Him.

May you also realize His immeasurable love for you today. May you meditate on the fact that God loves you as you are, He delights in you because of who He made you to be, graciously forgiving your mistakes, knowing all about you more intimately than anyone ever can.

Praise be to God!

* Notice how, in both passages below, Jesus was not drawing attention to Himself, but God was glorified through His miracles. Although Jesus is part of the God-head, it was not clear to the scribes and Pharisees at this point in time (perhaps some realized it later).

I’d love to hear if you find some more passages where Jesus knew their thoughts!

© blessedbeyondmeasure3.wordpress.com

Matthew 9
1  And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into His own city.  2  And, behold, they brought to Him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”  3  And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, ‘This man blasphemeth.’  4  And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?  5  For whether is easier, to say, “Thy sins be forgiven thee”; or to say, “Arise, and walk?”  6  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins,” (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) “Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”  7  And he arose, and departed to his house.  8  But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

Luke 5
17  And it came to pass on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.  18  And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before Him.  19  And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.  20  And when He saw their faith, He said unto him, “Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.”  21  And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”  22  But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answering said unto them, “What reason ye in your hearts?  23  Whether is easier, to say, “Thy sins be forgiven thee”; or to say, “Rise up and walk?”  24  But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins,” (He said unto the sick of the palsy,) “I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.”  25  And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.  26  And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things to day.”

Luke 7
36  And one of the Pharisees desired Him that He would eat with him. And He went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.  37  And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,  38  And stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment.  39  Now when the Pharisee which had bidden Him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, ‘This man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him: for she is a sinner.’  40  And Jesus answering said unto him, “Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.” And he saith, “Master, say on.”  41  “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.  42  And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?”  43  Simon answered and said, “I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.” And He said unto him, “Thou hast rightly judged.”  44  And He turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, “Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest Me no water for My feet:  but she hath washed My feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.  45  Thou gavest Me no kiss:  but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss My feet.  46  My head with oil thou didst not anoint:  but this woman hath anointed My feet with ointment.  47  Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven;  for she loved much:  but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.”  48  And He said unto her, “Thy sins are forgiven.”  49  And they that sat at meat with Him began to say within themselves, ‘Who is this that forgiveth sins also?‘  50  And He said to the woman, “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”

Boldly I approach (The art of celebration)

“Let us therefore come boldly (with open hands) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:16 ~

By grace alone somehow I stand
where even angels fear to tread…
Invited by redeeming love,
before the throne of God above.

He pulls me close with nail-scarred hands
into His everlasting arms!

When condemnation grips my heart,
and satan tempts me to despair,
I hear the voice that scatters fear –
The Great I Am The Lord is here!

Oh praise the One Who fights for me
and shields my soul eternally!

Boldly I approach your throne…
Blameless now I’m running home!
By Your Blood I come,
welcomed as Your own…
into the arms of Majesty!

Behold the bright and risen Son:
more beauty than this world has known!
I’m face to face with Love Himself –
His perfect spotless righteousness!

Oh, a thousand years, a thousand tongues
are not enough to sing His praise!

Chorus

This is the art of celebration: (oh, joy in my heart)
knowing were free from condemnation! (I’m blameless now!)
Oh, praise the One, praise the One,
Who made an end to all my sins!

There is no condemnation in You,
we are blameless before Your throne!

Chorus

~ Written by: Gareth Gilkeson, Chris Llewellyn
Performed by: Rend Collective
Album: The Art of Celebration ~

Shoulders

Spoken:  “I look up to the mountains.  Does my strength come from the mountains?  No.  My strength comes from God, Who made heaven and earth, and the mountains…”  (Psalm 121)

When confusion’s my companion,  (Job 10:15)
and despair holds me for ransom,  (Ecclesiastes 2:20)
I will feel no fear –  (Psalm 118:6)
I know that You are near!  (Psalm 34:18)

When I’m caught deep in the valley,  (Psalm 23:4)
with chaos for my company,
I’ll find my comfort here  (2 Corinthians 1:4)
‘Cause I know that You are near…

My help comes from You –  (Psalm 121:2)
You’re right here, pulling me through! 
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness  (Isaiah 53:4)
all on Your shoulders, Your shoulders.
My help comes from You –
You are my rest, my rescue…  (Matthew 11:28, Daniel 6:27)
I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up  (2 Corinthians 5:7)
on Your shoulders, Your shoulders.

You mend what once was shattered  (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18)
and You turn my tears to laughter;  (Psalm 126:5)
Your forgiveness is my fortress;  (Colossians 1:14)
Oh, Your mercy is relentless!  (Lamentations 3:22-23)

~ Written by:  Luke Smallbone, Joel Smallbone, Ben Glover & Tedd Tjornhom
Performed by:  for King & Country ~

What God thinks about you

Original article taken from Desiring God website
What God Thinks About You

We all want to know who we are. We seek and search and try to “find ourselves.” Many of us have taken personality tests and other assessments. We learn that we are a lion, a beaver, an ENFP, an activator, a competitor, a high I, high D.

But as helpful as those tests can be, have you ever stopped to ask, “What does God think about me? Who does he say that I am?”

In all my years as a Christian, I had never asked the question quite this way until recently. And what I found is that God has a lot to say about what he thinks about us — a whole Bible full. But if we could summarize it in a short space, here’s how it might sound.

You Are Valuable

I am the Creator and you are my creation. I breathed into your nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). I created you in my own image (Genesis 1:27). My eyes saw your unformed substance (Psalm 139:16). I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). I know the number of hairs on your head, and before a word is on your tongue I know it (Matthew 10:30; Psalm 139:4). You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

You are more valuable than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31). I have given you dominion over all sheep and oxen and all beasts of the field and birds of the heavens and fish of the sea (Psalm 8:6–8; Genesis 1:26, 28). I have crowned you with glory and honor as the pinnacle and final act of the six days of creation (Psalm 8:5; Genesis 1:26).

However, from the very beginning, you exchanged the truth about me for a lie. You worshiped and served created things rather than me, the Creator (Romans 1:25). You have sinned and fallen short of my glory (Romans 3:23). Just as I said to Adam and Eve, the penalty for your sin is death (Romans 6:23; Genesis 2:17). And in your sin, you were spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). You were children of wrath, living as enemies to me (Ephesians 2:3; Romans 5:10). You turned aside from me. You became corrupt. There is none who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:2–3). What you deserve is my righteous judgment (Psalm 7:11–12).

And yet, in my great love, I gave my unique Son, that all those who believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). While you were still sinners, Christ died for you. While you were still hostile toward me, you were reconciled to me by the death of my Son (Romans 5:8, 10). Sin doesn’t have the last word. Grace does (Romans 5:20).

Now everyone who calls on the name of Jesus will be saved (Romans 10:13). You who have believed are born again (1 Peter 1:3). I have adopted you (Ephesians 1:5). You are children of God, heirs of God (1 John 3:2; Romans 8:16–17). You are no longer orphans. You belong to me (John 14:18; 1 Corinthians 6:19). And I love you as a perfect Father (1 John 3:1; Luke 15:20–24).

You Are New

In my eyes, you are a brand new creation. The old has passed away; the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Sin is no longer your master, for you died to sin and are now alive to me (Romans 6:11; Ephesians 2:4).

You are finally free from the slavery of sin and death. There is now no condemnation for you (Romans 8:1–2). All your sins are forgiven (1 John 1:9). All your unrighteousness has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7, 9). You are now righteous in my sight with the very righteousness of my perfect Son (Romans 4:5).

You’ve been saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8). You’ve been justified by faith (Romans 5:1). You are utterly secure in me; nothing will be able to separate you from my love in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39). No one is able to snatch you out of my hand (John 10:29). And I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

You Have My Spirit

You not only have a new Father, but also a new family of brothers and sisters (Luke 8:21). You are now part of the people of God (1 Peter 2:9). And together the life you now live is by faith in my Son (Galatians 2:20).

Look to Jesus. Keep your eyes on him. He is the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). Christ is in you by my Spirit, and you are in Christ (John 15:5; Colossians 1:27). Stay close to Jesus. Abide in him (John 15:4). For your life is found in him (John 14:6; Colossians 3:3–4). To live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).

Don’t live by your own power or understanding. No, live by my Spirit within you (Zechariah 4:6; Proverbs 3:5). Remember, I have given you the Holy Spirit to be with you and in you (Romans 5:5; John 14:17). The Spirit will guide you into all truth, help you to obey me, and empower you to do my work (John 16:7, 13; Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:16).

You Will Be Transformed

As you seek me and see more of my glory, I am transforming you into the image of my Son (2 Corinthians 3:18; Exodus 33:18). One day you will be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet sound (1 Corinthians 15:52). When Jesus appears, you will be like him, because you shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2; Romans 8:29).

You will be delivered from your body of death through Jesus Christ, and your dwelling place will be with me (Romans 7:24–25; John 14:3). And I will wipe away every tear from your eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore (Revelation 21:3–4).

You will drink from the spring of the water of life without payment, and I myself will make for you a feast of rich food and well-aged wine (Revelation 21:6; Isaiah 25:6). You will enter my rest, inherit the kingdom I’ve prepared for you, and step into fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Hebrews 4:9–11; Matthew 25:34; Psalm 16:11).

But most of all, you will see my face and be with me where I am (Revelation 22:4; John 14:3).

You Represent Me

Therefore, walk in a manner worthy of your calling (Ephesians 4:1). You are no longer darkness, but light in my Son. Walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8). You are the light of the world, a city set on a hill (Matthew 5:14). I have called you (2 Peter 1:3). I have chosen you (Revelation 17:14). You are now a saint, a servant, a steward, and a soldier (Romans 1:7; Acts 26:16; 1 Peter 4:10; 2 Timothy 2:3). You are a witness and a worker (Acts 1:8; Ephesians 2:10). Through Jesus you are victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57). You have a glorious future (Romans 8:18). You are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). You are an ambassador for my Son (2 Corinthians 5:20).

~ Written by John Rinehart ~

Glorious day

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises, (Luke 2:13)
one day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin: (Luke 1:26-38)
dwelt among men, my example is He. (John 1:14)
The Word became flesh and the light shined among us:
His glory revealed!

Living, He loved me (John 15:12)
Dying, He saved me; (Romans 5:9-10)
Buried, He carried my sins far away! (Micah 7:19, Isaiah 38:17)
Rising, He justified freely forever… (Romans 5:1)
One day He’s coming – (Acts 1:11, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day!

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain, (Luke 23:33)
one day, they nailed Him to die on a tree… (1 Peter 2:24)
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected, (Isaiah 53:3)
bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He! (1 Peter 1:18-19, Job 19:25)
The Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree…
(Matthew 8:2-3, Matthew 9:28-30, Matthew 20:32-34)
He took the nails for me! (Romans 5:8)

Chorus

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
one day the stone rolled away from the door… (John 20:1)
Then He arose over death He had conquered: (1 Corinthians 15:54 & 57)
now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore! (Hebrews 10:12, 1 Peter 3:22)
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
from rising again!

Chorus

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming; (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
One day the skies with His glories will shine! (Acts 1:11)
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine…

~ Written by:  Mark Hall & Michael Bleecker
Performed by:  Casting Crowns
Album:  Until the whole world hears ~

Romans 8

31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  32  He that spared not His Own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.  34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us.  35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  36  As it is written, “For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”  37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.  38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  39  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.