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 ~

Why we never need to worry 

The past couple of months, I’ve learned an amazing truth.  I hope this will mean something to someone else, too! 

I loved my grandmother.  I sent her letters the old-fashioned way, visited her in the old age home during holidays, spent hours paging through her photo albums with her, and eventually many more hours making her a special light-weight album with old and recent pictures of her offspring, when the old albums became too heavy for her to lift.  I loved my grandmother dearly.  I used to start crying just at the thought that she might one day die… although I knew that she was already deep in her 80’s and that we had to treasure every moment together.  I prayed many prayers that she would live to see my children, and took lots of photos when we were together.  I couldn’t imagine my life without her, and my heart broke at the thought of ever having to say goodbye. 

One Saturday morning in July this year, I had the phone call I dread so much.  She had gone to be with her Saviour in the most gentle way imaginable.  She had still been relatively healthy, and this was completely unexpected.  She had phoned just 2 days before, to congratulate my husband’s completed university degree. 

I cried a lot.  Especially when I phoned my mom later that morning.  But I experienced an amazing truth during that time, and still every time I miss her:  God’s grace is new every morning, every day, in every MOMENT…  and THAT is the reason we get through difficult times, looking back and wondering how we could ever cope. 

In Jesus’s famous Sermon in the Mount (Matthew 6:34, KJV), He said the following:

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Compare that to Lamentations 3:22-23, which says, 

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”

The reason we can cope with life’s most difficult challenges, is because God gives us, every day, enough mercy, grace and compassion for the day.  He KNOWS what lies ahead for us, He KNOWS what we need…  It says so in the few verses preceding Jesus’s words quoted above:

30 “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”  (Matthew 6) 

One of the greatest challenges I can imagine is coping after your house burned down in a fire.  I’ve often prayed that such a thing will never happen to me or my loved ones.  Yet, I know that when such a terrible thing happens, people find strength to cope, somehow…  I now understand why – because God’s grace is there with them in that moment, an unseen Hand carrying them through the difficult time.  Oh, imagine if we could SEE our loving Father and Saviour’s protection, strength and Presence with us!! 

I am so grateful that God gives more than ENOUGH mercy, grace, strength and compassionate love for what we need every moment.  

This is why we never need to be worried:  God WILL be there in that moment you’re scared of, dreading, or worried about, with ENOUGH of what you need to carry you through.  I hope this will encourage you today!! 

2 Corinthians 12:8-10, KJV

8 “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

© blessedbeyondmeasure3.wordpress.com 

Flawless

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjLlLPZderk

There’s got to be more than going back and forth
from doing right to doing wrong  (Romans 7)
‘cause we were taught that’s who we are…
Come on, get in line right behind me –
you along with everybody
thinking there’s worth in what you do…  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Then like a Hero Who takes the stage when
we’re on the edge of our seats saying, “It’s too late…”
Well, let me introduce you to amazing grace…

No matter the bumps, no matter the bruises,
no matter the scars;  still the truth is:
the Cross has made, the Cross has made you flawless!

No matter the hurt or how deep the wound is,
no matter the pain;  still the truth is:
the Cross has made, the Cross has made you flawless!

Could it possibly be that we simply can’t believe
that this unconditional kind of love would be enough
to take a filthy wretch like this  (Romans 7:24)
and wrap him up in righteousness?  (2 Corinthians 5:21)
But that’s exactly what He did!

Chorus

Take a breath smile and say:
“Right here, right now, I’m OK, because
the Cross was enough…”

And like a Hero who takes the stage when
we’re on the edge of our seats saying, “It’s too late…”
Well, let me introduce you to grace, grace, God’s grace…

Chorus

No matter what they say or what you think you are,
the day you called His Name He made you flawless!

~ Performed by:  MercyMe
Written by:  Bart Millard, Mike Scheuchzer, Nathan Cochran, Robby Shaffer; Barry Graul; Solomon Olds; David Garcia; Ben Glover ~

Ephesians 2:8-10
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away;  behold, all things are become new.  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ… reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them… For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin;  that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

John 19:30
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, “It is finished“: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.”

Further Scripture reading

Here’s my heart, LORD

Me - Here’s my heart, Lord [x3]
Speak what is true

I am found, I am Yours (Luke 15:4-10, John 17:9)
I am loved, I’m made pure (John 15:9, 1 John 1:7)
I have life, I can breathe (John 6:47, John 10:10, Genesis 2:7)
I am healed, I am free (Isaiah 53:5, Psalms 147:3, Romans 6:22, Galatians 5:1)

You are strong, You are sure (Isaiah 40:26, Psalm 73:26, Isaiah 28:16 [1 Peter 2:6)
You are life, You endure (John 14:6, Psalm 102:12)
You are good, always true (Psalm 100:5, 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 1 John 5:20)
You are light breaking through (John 8:12, John 9:5)

You are more than enough (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
You are here, You are love (Matthew 1:23, 1 John 4:8)
You are hope, You are grace (1 Timothy 1:1, John 1:14&17)
You’re all I have, You’re everything (Ephesians 1:21-23)

Here’s my life, Lord [x3]
Speak what is true

~ Written by:  Chris Tomlin, Jason Ingram, Louie Giglio
Performed by:  (David) Crowder ~

Picture source:  http://yes-iamredeemed.tumblr.com/post/81696354516

The greatest story

Some days your own resolve is strong, and other days you bend…
It’s two steps forward, one step back and a stumble now and then.
You wonder if you’ll ever really make the difference you’ve prayed that you will
Well, I know that prayer will be fulfilled
’cause…

Your life, woven day by day,
is a new design of the glory God displays
on the canvas of creation,
through the poem of history;
in the pattern of redemption
running through the tapestry…
Your life in Christ can be
the greatest story ever told!

You cannot see the hands of God or feel the grace that flows
from Him through you to those you touch in ways you’ll never know…
You cannot measure worth by human standards – that’s always a lie:
oh, you have to see through heaven’s Eyes
how…

Your life, woven day by day,
is a new design of the glory God displays
on the canvas of creation,
through the poem of history;
in the pattern of redemption
running through the tapestry…
Your life in Christ can be
the greatest story ever told!

In the light of eternity,
standing face to Face, you will finally see…
for the very first time you’ll understand
your perfect place in the Master’s plan
and how…

Your life, woven day by day,
is a new design of the glory God displays
on the canvas of creation,
through the poem of history;
in the pattern of redemption
running through the tapestry…
Your life in Christ can be
the greatest story ever told!

~ Written by:  Charlie Peacock & Douglas McKelvey
Performed by:  Avalon ~

It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming!

Sunday
~Written and performed by: Tree63 ~

(Although we are now suffering in this temporal world, eternity and its glory is coming!)

Behind the Song:
“This song was originally titled “Friday (but Sunday is coming),” from the title of the well-known sermon and book by Tony Campolo. Its verses deal with the dark realities of our world, where the Friday of Jesus’ crucifixion acts as a metaphor for our experiences of those realities. As the Gospel stories clearly show, Friday happens, but Sunday is inevitable. Sunday is the resurrection, the day when all our meager hopes and wildest dreams come true, the day we as believers look forward to despite our present condition. This is a “hang in there” song; Sunday is not so far away!” – John Ellis (Tree 63)

Lyrics:
Nothing’s sacred, the days are cheap;
Truth is thin on the ground…
Still our prophets are crucified,
nobody believes: we’re stumbling…
It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming!

Someone’s saying a prayer tonight
for hungry mouths to be filled.
Someone kneels in the dark somewhere,
and darkness is already crumbling…
It’s Friday, but Sunday comes!

Sunday – Hallelujah! – it’ s not so far, it’s not so far away…
Sunday – Hallelujah! – it’s not so far, it’s not so far away!

Broken promises, weary hearts,
but one promise remains:
Crucified, He will come again!
It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming;
It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming!

Chorus

2 Corinthians 4:8-18
8  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  9  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  10  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  11  For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  12  So then death worketh in us, but life in you.  13  We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;  14  Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.  15  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.  16  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  18  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

The Author & Finisher of our Faith

We, as humans, think that we should balance out our bad deeds with good deeds.  Mentally, we keep “record” of the bad things we have done, and then we try to balance it out by doing some good deeds in an effort to justify ourselves.

The Bible does say that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20) and that “by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).  Further reading of this passage reveals the example of Abraham, who believed, and the works that he did followed his faith in God’s instructions and provision (Genesis 22:1-14, Hebrews 11:19).  The “works” mentioned in the Book of James are NOT trying to justify ourselves in God’s eyes through “good deeds”.  The Bible is clear that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), and that we are only “justified by His blood” (Romans 5:9), the Blood that Jesus Christ shed for us on the cross at Calvary.  (See also Hebrews 9:22, 1 Peter 1:18-19.)  God wants our works to be done out of our love for Him, doing good deeds to other people because we want to please our LORD (not justify ourselves), and reading the Bible and praying to God because we desire fellowship with our Creator.

As we sincerely desire a love relationship with Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us (Ephesians 5:25), He will work the good works in our hearts (Philippians 1:6 & 2:13).  We, as humans, like to try to be “in control”, DOING things to buy His favour.  This is not at all what He requires.  He wants us to LOVE Him, above all else.  (Luke 10:27)

This relationship between me and God was NOT initiated by me, or “earned” by any good thing I may have done.  His love for us, His mercy and grace, His kindness, is so great that the God of all the universe, the Creator of all things, desires a relationship with us – broken, frail, sinful human beings.

Our relationship with God (through Jesus Christ, our mediator) is from Him.  He is the One Who does the good works in our hearts and through us.  It was never about us – but it always has been and always will be about Jesus Christ, our God.  All the glory and honour is due to Him!  (Revelation 4:11)

1 John 4:19
We love Him, because He first loved us.

John 15:16
“Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you.” ~ Jesus Christ

Philippians 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:1-3
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Revelation 5:12
Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

Unworthy of the Blood

I know not why the Sovereign King would leave His throne on High
to dwell here in this barren land with mortals, such as I…
He left His home in Paradise, oh why, I’ll never know…
but His precious Blood has made me purer than the virgin snow!

Here am I, so unworthy of the Blood
Unworthy of the Blood that sets me free!
Here am I, so unworthy of the Blood,
and yet, it flowed for me…

For every time I falter and I bring the Father shame,
a droplet of His precious Blood then falls upon my name…
I’ll never know the reason why this thing has come to be,
all I know is that He did it, just for you and me!

~ Written by:  Jeff Ross
Performed by:  Jimmy Swaggart ~

Ephesians 1:7
“In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…”

Ephesians 2:13
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

Colossians 1:14, 20
“In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins…  And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

1 Peter 1:18-19
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot…”

1 John 1:7
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Revelation 12:11
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

I am

There’s no space that His love can’t reach;
There’s no place that we can’t find peace;
There’s no end to Amazing Grace…

Take me in with Your arms spread wide;
Take me in like an orphan child:
Never let go, never leave my side!

I am, holding on to You.
I am, holding on to You.
In the middle of the storm,
I am holding on, I am!

Love like this, oh, my God, to find!
I am overwhelmed:  what a joy divine!
Love like this sets our hearts on fire!

Chorus

This is my resurrection song;
This is my “Hallelujah, come!”
This is why it’s to You I run!

There’s no space that His love can’t reach;
There’s no place that we can’t find peace;
There’s no end to Amazing Grace…

I AM, holding on to you.
I AM, holding on to you.
In the middle of the storm,
I AM holding on:  I AM!

~ Written by:  David Crowder
Album:  Neon Steeple ~

Exodus 3:14
And God said unto Moses, “I AM THAT I AM”: and He said, “Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

John 8:58
Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”

Oceans

You call me out upon the waters:
the great unknown, where feet may fail…
And there I find You in the mystery…
In oceans deep my faith will stand.

And I will call upon Your Name
and keep my eyes above the waves;
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
for I am Yours and You are mine…  (Song of Solomon 6:3)

Your grace abounds in deepest waters;
Your sovereign Hand will be my guide…
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me,
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now!

Chorus

Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders,
let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me!
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,
And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Saviour…

~ Lyrics by:  Joel Houston, Matt Crocker, Salomon Lighthelm
Performed by:  Hillsong (2013) ~

Jesus reaching out  through the waters

Psalm 144:7a “Send Thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters…”

Matthew 14

23  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone.  24  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.  25  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.  26  And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a spirit;” and they cried out for fear.  27  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”  28  And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water.”  29  And He said, “Come.” And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  30  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, “Lord, save me.”  31  And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”  32  And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.  33  Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying, “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”