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Angela

Change Where It Is Needed

I’ve heard over and over that we are either entering into, in the midst of, or coming out of tribulations and troubles, and the Scriptures concur: When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: Isaiah 43:2-3a

Yes, we are going to go through hard times. God said, “When”, not “If”. So this being the case, there is a particular mindset needed as a child of God to accept it and let God’s perfect plan be worked out. It is one thing to say that, but another to live it. This is a huge struggle for me. Over and over again, I catch myself trying to sort & work things out according to my thoughts & ways, but they are not God’s thoughts or God’s ways:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

This does not mean we sit back and do nothing. We MUST seek the Lord and His will to make sure we are doing what He wants us to do. If I spent more time doing this then “working things out my way”, I’d be at peace more often than not, rather than the other way around.

The key to peace is not in the situation. It has always been – and always will be – in who we think on:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

When my thoughts are focused on the Lord, who He is and all that He has done and is doing for me, there is no brain power left to have a “pity party.”

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Proverbs 23:7a

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 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. Lamentations 3:21-23

My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Luke 1:46-47

In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalms 94:19

Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. Proverbs 16:3

Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. Isaiah 38:17

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 10:17

God may not change our situation, but He can change our hearts so we have His peace as we go through it.

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (ie. cause them to stumble) Psalms 119:165

My Life Verse

What is a life verse? It’s simply a verse that means something really special to you and that God has really brought to your mind over and over. Mine is the title for my blog, Hebrews 12:2 To me, it is the solution to everything!

“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.” Heb. 12:2

If you stop and think about it, “the joy that was set before Him” is yours and my salvation! He loves us so much!

When Doing God’s Will Hurts

Doing God’s will may not always feel the best, but it is always the right thing to do.

Our family has felt this more this last 8 months or so more than at any other time. Although we know we are following God’s will, the consequences are that people our family cares about are getting hurt, and that tears us apart.

I started this devotional a few days ago, but the pain of having hurt others was still too fresh to focus. As I read it now, I am reminded of David, one of the greatest kings of Israel. He had been following God’s will in destroying some of Israel’s enemies, only to come back to his city and find it ransacked and the women & children taken captive. Needless to say, the people who had followed him were not too please:

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

Regardless of we must do as Christians to stay in God’s will, someone may get hurt. Of course it’s going to hurt us and can even be “distressing”, but David’s solution is certainly the right one:  “…David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”

When our focus remains on the Lord, the hurt of hurting others may still be there, but we can be encouraged as we know God is working out His plans, not ours:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

“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:” Philippians 1:6

My life verse still remains Hebrews 12:2

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. Heb: 12:2

When Trials Become Sin

This may seem like an odd title, but it is definitely something I’ve seen that was happening in my own life. It helps me to write things out so I can see the full impact of my actions/inactions and either continue in the right or stop the wrong. I hope that my story can be a help to others so this doesn’t happen to them.

As we’ve gone through some pretty hefty trials this last year, there were times when I was so overwhelmed and all I could think about was what we were going through. God was not in the forefront, the center or anywhere He should have been in my thoughts. I was headed down a path that would end up with me being so wrapped up in the hurt, the betrayal, the actual things going on around me, that I lost sight of The One who allowed all these trials to come upon me to strenghten me. Oh yes, I could quote verses about God being in control, and that all would be okay, but I was focusing on that rather than focusing on my Lord!

Remembering that anything that takes the preeminence in my heart other than God is an idol, I realized the trials/hurt, etc. had become the center – hence and idol – SIN.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter if the trials ever end or they get bigger and bigger. That’s not where my focus needs to be. All I am MUST be focused on the Lord, not what He is doing, whether He brings trials or easier times.

My Bible tells me many things about what position/priority God MUST have in my life, and I’ll quote some of them further, but it can all be summed up in very short passages as relayed in three of the Gospels:

“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:28-33

It is also recounted in Luke 10:25-37, but in this instance, the Lord emphasizes the fact that we sin because we cannot love the Lord in this way, but it should still be our goal. Whenever I make it my goal to “to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength”, my heart is at peace. Come what may, good or bad, I’m not flustered, angry, upset, distraught, etc.

Here’s a brief account of this last week. It was interesting to say the least.

Sunday am: Asked to take in a friend from out of town who’s wife has been medivacced to local hospital for “flesh eating disease”. Didn’t know at this point if she was going to make it.

Sunday pm: 10 minutes escorting our friend to our home after church, our 9 year old border colie dies

Monday am: deal with disposal of beloved pet

Monday afternoon to 1am: rush husband to doc then hospital fearing heart attack. No heart attack but suspect angina attack – symptoms identical and still kicks the stuffing out of him

Tuesday afternoon: take husband to naturopath, confirm angina attack and that it was SEVERE. Narrowly avoid heart attack.

Wednesday afternoon: find one of our cats outside and he’s barely able to move. Think he was in a cat fight.

Thursday am: realized cat had been runover by car, not catfight. Losing another pet this week was not a preferred option. Rush to vet.  After some treatment, he’s going to be okay.

Also throughout the week, dealing with personal attacks on our family. Our friend in the hospital is still touch ‘n’ go, but she’ll be in hospital here at least 3 more weeks.

While going through this all, I was truly amazed at the peace God gave when I struggled to focus on Him. Then the following came to mind:

1. Alpha and Omega:

My thoughts should always begin and end with Him.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8 Also Revelation 1:11, Rev. 21:6, Rev 22:13

2. Preeminence:

He should have the preeminence (first place) in all things, and that includes my trials.

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:18

3. Focus: He should always be the focus. My “spiritual” eyes must be always looking to Him:

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. Hebrews 12:2-3

Remembering these three things have been a huge help in placing the Lord first, versus letting the trials be my focus and become sin.

The following verse has also been in the forefront this week as I sought grace to go through whatever the Lord would have for me:

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

He wants us to come to Him, not shy away when trials come, and let us not forget our purpose:

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

So…..

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. Psalms 89:1

Counted Worthy

For those who’ve read some recent posts, you’ve been reading how the Lord has been leading us through some trials. This is a continuation of sorts, but what God showed me the morning of July 3rd has me in complete awe and wonder and His mercy & grace in our lives. The conclusion may sound very proud, but there is no self-pride in it. If the Saviour is not exalted in this post, I’ve failed.

Years ago, I felt our lives as Christians were just too easy. I know that the Bible says:

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

I kept feeling that I must be a failure as a Christian because we weren’t under persecution. We had gone through  a hefty bout 13 years ago with attacks on our family and me personally, and an occasional upheaval through the years. They just seemed like nothing compared to what I saw other Christians going through. Don’t get me wrong! I really DO NOT relish going through persecution, but I felt that the Lord must think my faith is so weak, that I couldn’t handle much. These were feelings I was putting on myself. It was not the Lord’s doing.

What I was failing to see is that the Bible doesn’t say we will have persecution ALL the time, just that we will. I was also failing to see that, as the Potter, He was molding and shaping me/our family into what He wants for us in His timing, not ours.

2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

As I go over our current trials, and yes, I will call them persecution as we are being attacked for Christ’s sake, I can see back through the years all the things I thought were so little, yet each and every one was meant to mold and shape us/me into Christians that could handle what we are going through now.

I’ll use an example from my husband’s (dh) work to try and get the point across. There have been many individuals at his work who have tried to cause him trouble over the years, but one by one, he has watched as they’ve come and gone, yet he is still there. One man in particular was so difficult to work with and untrustworthy that no one wanted to work with him. He took particular relish in attacking my husbad, yet my dh never went after him. Well, as I’ve heard many times, when a person’s testimony is good, fling all the mud you want, but it won’t stick! And it didnt’! God removed that man in His timing, not my dh’s. As dh and I discussed this and the mud-slinging on our family happening in another area of our lives, something dawned on me and I expressed it to him: “If you had not gone through all the attacks by “so and so” over the years, would you be able to handle what is happening now?” He said, “Probably not.”

That is when I truly began to see the bigger picture. God had been faithfully shaping and molding us through small but frequent, and bigger but less frequent trials throughout our entire lives. I just wasn’t seeing it! I could relay other instances, but I want God to get the glory here! He did it! Not us! God gave the grace! God gave the mercy & care to see us through so that He would get the deserved glory!

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18

So this is the part that may sound proud, and all you have is my word that what I say is in humility and wonder at what a wondrous God we serve. He counted us/me worthy to suffer for Him, and He has NEVER left me alone!

And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. Acts 5:41

Psalm 109:26 Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy:
27 That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.

Psalm 23:1 ¶ A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

What can I do but speak or sing of His mercy & grace!

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 89:1

Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Philippians 2:16

But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:13

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11

I Stand Redeemed

With Canada Day (July 1st) having just passed, and Independance Day (July 4th) for the USA tomorrow, I began to think about the birth of these two nations. They began as Christian nations, but have generally degraded into nations that only have a vague semblance to Christ. Worse than that, there is little difference between the world and many who claim the name of Christ.

The Bible talks about this happening to the world in the last days.

2Timothy 3:1 ¶ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

It is vital that each and every one who is a blood-bought, born-again, child of the living God, daily make a conscience decision to follow the Saviour who gave all for us. Like the Apostle Paul who spoke of submission to Christ, we must also say: “…I die daily. 1 Corinthians 15:31

Titus 2:11 ¶ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

The above texts may seem to have little to do with the title of this devotional, but they were meant as a reminder. Although the hour in which we live becomes consistently more wicked, the peace and assurance that can only come from God can remain steadfast in the simple knowledge of our redemption! Our God has not changed!

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8

Titus2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

I Stand Redeemed!

1) When I think of all my faults and my failures;
When I consider all the times I’ve let God down.
I am humbled by the grace He has extended.
I’m amazed at the mercy I have found.
I could never earn His love on my own,
Yet every time I come before His throne:
Chorus:
I stand redeemed, by the blood of the Lamb.
I stand redeemed, before the great I am.
When He looks at me, He sees the nail scarred hands
That bought my liberty.
I stand redeemed.
2) Even at my best I am unworthy;
I have nothing precious I can give.
A broken life is all I have to offer,
And yet it’s a priceless gift to Him.
The bitter marks of sin will never fade away,
And I can come before Him unashamed.

The Comfort of the Scriptures

Romans 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

It amazes me how much we can put ourselves through simply because we don’t take our cares to the Lord. Our lives have always been pretty typical, having one disturbing major issue happening at a time, but it seems like this time around it has been 4-5 at the same time. I can honestly say that the last 6-7 months have been the hardest trials I have gone through in my entire Christian life with some things being personal and some affecting our entire family. At times I felt overwhelmed and it seemed I barely had a grasp of the hem of the Lord’s garment, yet, there was still a peace that kept me going as I knew the Lord was going to see us through, again. When I took our cares to the Lord, that peace was the strongest, and of course when I focused on the issues, that peace seemed so dim, but it was always there.

Taking all our cares to the Lord is exactly what He expects us to do!

1 Peter 5:7  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

It truly is a blessing to be able to write down what I learn from the Scriptures and the lessons learned from what God brings into our lives.  Several years ago, I did a full blown lesson on “Depression”, and God used it not only to calm my troubles heart, but to be an encouragement to others as well. If any of our trials help anyone to go on for Christ, the I count those trials a privilege.

2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Yet God has also given us an even greater comfort that to me makes any and all trials worthwhile.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Our Lord is coming back one day! All our trials will be over and we will see the one who redeemed us from our sin! What greater comfort is there?

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:

I couldn’t find a vocal rendition of this hymn that I liked, but at least I can post the words and music. The music player is at the bottom of the lyrics.

When We See Christ

1) Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God’s eternal day.

Refrain
It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,
So bravely run the race till we see Christ.

2) Sometimes the sky looks dark with not a ray of light,
We’re tossed and driven on , no human help in sight;
But there is one in heav’n who knows our deepest care,
Let Jesus solve your problem – just go to Him in pray’r.

3) Life’s day will soon be o’er, all storms forever past,
We’ll cross the great divide, to glory, safe at last;
We’ll share the joys of heav’n – a harp, a home, a crown,
The tempter will be banished, we’ll lay our burden down.

Our God of Second Chances

How many times have any of us done something really stupid, and realize it right after, or right in the middle of it?

Do you ever get to feeling like you can’t do anything right, wondering why you bother trying as your going to fail anyway?

You really didn’t mean to hurt someone, yet you did, and you figure it can’t be set right.

I must admit, I’ve been there some days. It just seems like no matter how hard you try, things just don’t seem to work out, or not that often anyway.

I could use all kins of cliches right now about getting back up on the horse, “try, try again”, etc., but I’d rather just seen how God views the efforts of His children:

For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. Proverbs 24:16

In other words, the child of God shouldn’t give up trying to do right, regardless of the failures. As I was looking into this whole idea of not giving up, or rather, God not giving up on us – giving us chances upon chances as we stumble and fall –  all of Psalm 103  has been a huge blessing to me.

Ps 103:1 ¶ A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

This is where our focus should be! Regardless of the circumstances!

Ps 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

God blesses us so much! Not always monetarily….what is peace in your soul  for this life and all eternity worth? – Christ’s death!

Ps 103:3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

When God saved me, I was bound by the chains of my sin…..yet He forgave me then, and continues to forgive and guide me now!

Ps 103:4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

He’s spared me from the punishment I deserved: Hell; and then crowns me as His child in love and mercy!

Ps 103:5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Just when I think I can’t go on, He gives me the strength to continue to live for Him!

Ps 103:6 ¶ The LORD executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.

I have the Great Judge on MY side! He is not partial in judgement. He is not a respecter of persons! He will judge rightly!

Ps 103:7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel.

He’s given us His precious Word so that we can know His ways!

The next verses are so incredible! What mercy! What grace! He knows we will fall, but the LORD loves us anyway because He knows what we are made of! He continuously extends His mercy to those who seek to do things His way. What a wondeful God we serve!!!!

Ps 103:8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
Ps 103:9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
Ps 103:10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
Ps 103:11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
Ps 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Ps 103:13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
Ps 103:14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
Ps 103:15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
Ps 103:16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
Ps 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;
Ps 103:18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.

He certainly deserves our praise!

Ps 103:19 ¶ The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
Ps 103:20 Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.
Ps 103:21 Bless ye the LORD, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
Ps 103:22 Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

After reading that Psalm, the following verse also came to mind. I hope this has been a blessing to you as well.

Psalms 119:103  How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

He Chose the Cross

This song helps to show the reality of what Christ did for us.  Another rendition can be listened to via the MP3 player on the site’s sidebar.

He Chose the Cross

1. To some it’s just an emblem a formality.
It’s a symbol that’s been used so frequently.
Many blaspheme and despise; though it’s ancient, it abides.
A shrine to death, it stands for life to me.

Chorus:
There was a cross made for the Son of God at Calvary.
Two pieces of rough timber on a hill.
Through His hands and through His feet,
He took the nails for you and me.
Angels watched as He did for the lost.
Though He could have walked away, He chose the cross.

2. You see why this old emblem is so dear to me.
It stood for suffering and it brought us peace.
It bridged the gap for man, of cleansing for our sins
An icon that reminds us that we’re free!

Chorus:
There was a cross made for the Son of God at Calvary.
Two pieces of rough timber on a hill.
Through His hands and through His feet,
He took the nails for you and me.
Angels watched as He did for the lost.
Though He could have walked away, He chose the cross.

Bridge:
God forbid that I should ever let my memory fade.
But forever keep the cross in view for that’s where I was saved.

Chorus:
There was a cross made for the Son of God at Calvary.
Two pieces of rough timber on a hill.
Through His hands and through His feet,
He took the nails for you and me.
Angels watched as He did for the lost.
Though He could have walked away, He chose the cross.

Though He could have walked away, He chose the cross.

Where Has God’s Love Gone?

This has been in my thoughts very much lately. God’s love is so great, so immeasurable, yet it seems elusive in many Bible believing churches today.

First, let me clearly state that I am unequivocally a Bible believer who stands firm on separation & holiness. The love I’m talking about is not the unscriptural, modern, wishy washy eceumenical – join with everyone regarless of doctrine, love everyone & their sin type love.

I’m talking about the kind of love that will graciously – with the compassionate, understanding heart of someone who sees their own sin –  show the sinner their sin, and then lovingly show them the Saviour!

These verses clearly demonstrate the key:

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Jude 1:21-23

We cannot show God’s love if we do not keep ourselves in His love! Notice verse 23 says we are to hate “the garment spotted by the flesh.” not the person themselves!

Here’s some points to ponder:

A. Examples of Christ dealing with the lost:

1. When Christ confronted the woman at the well, yes, he showed her her sin, but spent far more time directing her to himself.  John 4:7-42

What portion of time do we spend on “badgering” people about sin, instead of directing them to Jesus? When they see their sin, it’s time to show them the Saviour!

2. When the woman “caught in adultery” was brought to Him, she had obviously already dealt with her sin, so He showed her Himself. John 8:3-12

Are we walking close enough to Jesus that we can tell when a sinner is already convicted of their sin and can simply be shown the Saviour?

3. Jesus didn’t even tell the tax collector Zachaeus his sin. Christ’s very presence brought him to repentance and He took him in. Luke 19:2-10

4. The woman who washed Jesus’ feet with tears had already dealt with her sin and given Him her heart so He didn’t humiliate her, but for the sake of others hard-heartedness, He publicly acknowledged her sins were forgiven. Luke 7:36-50

Is Christ visible enough through us that others can be convicted of their sin without a word and be drawn to our precious Saviour?

Let me make it clear that I am not teaching people should not repent. There is no salvation without repentance:

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3&5

Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:21

B. God’s love hasn’t gone anywhere or changed:

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8.

It is the vessels the Lord wants to use that have become unusable. They cannot spread His love because they have become corrupted with a pride that exalts them so high they can no longer see where they have come from.

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 2 Peter 1:1-10

Sadly, we are the ones that God says have become hard-hearted and He has to be longsuffering with.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

C. Questions to ask ourselves to help measure our degree of love:

What is my first thought when I see:

- the drunk or druggie on the street
- the prostitute on the street corner
- the single mom on wellfare with a car load of kids
- the teen/young man with his pants hanging so far down you can see his underwear
- the illegal alien you or your spouse just lost your job to
- the new immigrant who is struggling to learn how it all works in this foreign land
- the homosexual/lesbian, etc.
- the prisoner or the ex-con
- the gang member

Does my heart break for their condition, or is my heart elevated in pride? Do I think I’m too good to bring myself low enough to show them the love of God?

We cannot hope to reach a lost world for Christ if we no longer remember the state in which Christ saved us, nor where we would be were it not for the grace of God.

The great apostle Paul said:   “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

He knew he was nothing without Christ, as we are.

D. Christ as our example of humbleness:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8

E. God’s commands to the believer:

Notice that Colossians 3:12-13 are in the imperative (or commanding) form.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. Colossians 3:12-13

Being merciful, kind, humble in mind, meek, longsuffering, forbearing & forgiving are not requests. They are commands!

F. What our message must be::

If we go to the lost world with this genuine humbleness of heart and a genuine love for the Saviour and the sinner, only then will they see & believe the greatest love of all:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

But God commendeth (proved) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

I’d like to finish this devotional with a song from the Marshall Family that really expresses this whole idea so well:

How Can We Reach a World we Never Touch?

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