Tag Archive | Grace

Communion

“Do this in remembrance of Me.”

~~

You have prepared for me a feast;
and though I am unworthy to sit down as a guest,
I wholly rest on the merits of Jesus,
and hide myself beneath his righteousness;
When I hear His tender invitation and see His wondrous grace,
I cannot hesitate, but must come to You in love…

While I gaze upon the emblems of my Saviour’s death,
may I ponder why he died, and hear Him say,

‘I gave my life to purchase ours,
presented myself an offering to expiate your sin,
shed my blood to blot out your guilt,
opened my side to make you clean,
endured your curses to set you free,
bore your condemnation to satisfy divine justice.’

O may I rightly grasp the breath and length of this design,
draw near,
obey,
extend my hand,
take the bread,
receive the cup,
eat and drink,
testify before all men that I do for myself, gladly,
in faith, reverence, and love,
receive my Lord
to be my life, strength, nourishment, joy, and delight.

In the supper I remember His eternal love,
boundless grace,
infinite compassion,
AGONY
CROSS
REDEMPTION
 and receive assurance of
Pardon
Adoption
LIFE
Glory.

As the outward elements nourish my body,
so may your indwelling Spirit
invigorate my soul,
until that day when I hunger and thirst no more,
and sit with Jesus at his heavenly feast.

~~~~

[1] Valley of Vision, Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, page 195.

Grace in the Details

A little change of pace for this week.  Taking time to focus on our Lord, through creation, communion and the Cross.

Creation:

John said that these butterflies literally posed for the camera!  What glorious detail!

So often we are overwhelmed by the big and grand ways the Lord displays His grace towards us.  But sometimes, the tiniest of flowers, a seed, or an insect, may speak of God’s wonder in a different way.  May we learn that His love, compassion, and grace towards us is also found in the details.

One day late..

…on my Titus2sday post for the week! 

For a few weeks, I’m going to delve into something very touchy for us as women. Or at least, for this woman!

Control.  Or…

Before delving into a discussion, I thought the following verses might help lay some groundwork: 

 “The Lord is the stronghold of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1

“..your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”  Genesis 3:16

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.”  Psalm 51:4

“Your kingdom come, Your will be done.”  Matt. 6:10

I know these seem like a mish-mash collection of verses, but I’m hopeful we can tie them together in a life-changing way that will bring glory to the Lord!  Yes, I’m optimistic! 

And perhaps, you could ask yourself these questions: 

What do these verses mean to you?

Where do you tend to look for security?

How does my kingdom tend to get in the way of God’s kingdom?

 

Some parting encouragement for the week:  This struggle to live for the Lord and not ourselves is not waged with our own feeble weapons.  We are SO weak.  We feel so alone in this battle.  But God’s Word comforts us  over and over again that He is with Us.  He is praying for us.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness.  His grace is greater.  His grace is enough…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness!”  2 Corinthians 12:9

~~~

It’s my deepest desire and prayer that these verses and questions will bring all of us to a greater and utter reliance on our relationship with the Lord, and away from our perceived strength, stamina, and control.  Looking forward to going deeper with you in His Word, next week!  Blessings!

It’s All Grace

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting!  Psalm 118:1

If you’re not sure what to be thankful for today, pull up a chair and join me in today’s list of 10.  No matter what life is dishing out, what storms are assaulting you, the goodness and lovingkindness of the Lord never changes!

Remaining Magnolia Blossoms

I can always be thankful that: 

41.  He became poor so I might become rich in Him!  2 Cor. 8:9

42.  He became sin so I could be the righteousness of God in Christ!   2 Cor. 5:21

43.  He cancelled out all my Sin!  Colossians 2:13, 14

44.  I am accepted in the Beloved!  Ephesians 1:6

45.  He cares for me!  I Peter 5:7

46.  He loved me First!!  I John 4:19

47.  He intercedes for me!  Hebrews 7:25

48. He has prepared a place for me!  John 14:2

49.  He comes to my aid when I am tempted!  Hebrews 2:18

50.  My name is written in the Lamb’s book of life!  Luke 10:20   More on that HERE.

~~~

Dear Father, You are altogether good!  Thank you for demonstrating your goodness, mercy, and faithfulness to us, by giving us your Son!  We’re unable to fathom the depth of your love, so you continually reveal it to us through your Word, your comforting Holy Spirit, the beauty of creation, and answered prayer.  Open our eyes and hearts to see the signs, big and small, of your love towards us!  It’s all grace!  Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!!  In His beautiful name, Amen!

Life from Death--It's all Grace

Sweeten Every Fear

“From my distress I called upon the Lord.  The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.  The Lord is for me: I will not fear; What can man do to me?”  Psalm 118:5, 6

Fearless Friday.  And what did I awake to?  Fear!  No surprise.  But the more important question is, where do I go with that fear?

David went to the Lord:

From my distress….I called upon the Lord.

What does the Lord do?

He answered me and set me in a large place.

I understand “answered me”, but what is this ‘large place?’ 

According to Biblical scholars (ie, those who can read Hebrew), a large place is actually a clearing, a bright spot that has been freed of foes, holes and corners (where we go with our fears) and all manner of enemies.  Like a clearing in the woods, the Lord brings us to a place where we can breathe, get a fresh perspective on our surroundings and be warmed by the sun!

“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”  Psalm 18:5

So in the midst of our distressing thoughts, we can be assured that the Lord answers us, and will set us in a clearing, where we can get His perspective, rather than being muddled or weighed down.  And, then He reminds us–again and again, because we’re so forgetful–that He delights in us and He is FOR us.  I’ve posted on this before, but it bears repeating:

“The Lord is for me: I will not fear.”

We need the reminder.  And that’s what God’s Word is for (and Fearless Fridays :-)).  When we’re in distress, anxious, fearful, or any number of synonyms that describe that pit we feel in our stomachs, we must turn to God’s Word. 

And we need to pray, taking our fears directly to God.  We’re not supposed to hide them or pretend they don’t exist.  David shows us how to pray in the Psalms, where he constantly and honestly shares with the Lord his sins, weaknesses, fears and doubts.

Another example of honesty in prayer is found in Valley of Vision, a Collection of Puritan Prayers.   This is my prayer today and, perhaps, could be yours: 

 

Sovereign Commander of the universe,
I am sadly harassed by doubts, fears, unbelief, in a felt spiritual darkness,
My heart is full of evil surmisings and disquietude,
        and I cannot act faith at all.
My heavenly Pilot has disappeared,
        and I have lost my hold on the Rock of Ages.
I sink in deep mire beneath storms and waves,
        in horror and distress unutterable.
Help me, O Lord,
        to throw myself absolutely and wholly on you,
        for better, for worse, without comfort, and all but hopeless.
Give me peace of soul, confidence, enlargement of mind,
        morning joy that comes after night heaviness;
Water my soul richly with divine blessings;
Grant that I may welcome your humbling in private, so that I might enjoy you in public;
Give me a mountain top as high as the valley is low.
Your grace can melt the worst sinner, and I am as vile as he;
Yet you have made me a monument of mercy,
         a trophy of redeeming power;
In my distress, let me not forget this.

All-wise God,
Your never-failing providence orders every event,
        sweetens every fear,
        reveals evil’s presence lurking in seeming good,
        brings really good out of seeming evil,
        makes unsatisfactory what I set my heart upon,
        to show me what a short-sighted creature I am,
        and to teach me to live by faith upon your blessed self.
Out of my sorrow and night, give me the name Naphtali,
        “satisfied with favour,”
        help me to love you as your child,
                and to walk worthy of my heavenly pedigree.

 

Through God’s Word and prayer, may you find that He hears, answers, delivers, and is for You!  Knowing this can “sweeten every fear” and bring you out of darkness, into His clearing and marvelous, comforting Light!

And please come back every Friday when we seek God’s Word to remind us that we are to Fear Not!

~~~

No Comparison

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.  2 Cor. 10:12

I think one of the hardest battles we have as women, is comparing ourselves with others.   This thinking can invade every area and role of our lives.  If we’re working outside the home, we look around, and wonder if we’re doing as good a job as others.  Some nebulous standard out there says we must have a cleaner or more creative home than….who?  Others, of course!  And forget it when it comes to mothering!  Organic meals, frugal budgets, home-schooling, discipline, potty-training, Baby einstein…it’s craaaaazy!!!   No matter how hard we try, there is always, always, always, someone doing ‘it’ better…or worse.

There is no peace in comparison.  And, honestly, I am not the best person to offer insight on how to defeat this monster, because it rages in me…everyday.

But, God’s Word can! 

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Eph. 2:10 

Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.  Psalm 100:3   

For you formed my inward parts;  you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Psalm 139:13 

God Made You. 

There IS no comparison.  You are unique in everyway.  Uniquely beautiful, talented, intellectual, spiritual, and, all together Wonderful!   So why still try to measure up or compare ourselves with others?

It’s a matter of Focus.

We focus waaaaaay too much on ourselves.  Or others.  We need to adjust our sights, and focus on only one Person.

Focus on Jesus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.   Hebrews 12:1-3

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.  Romans 14:7-8

 

Working, parenting, teaching, cleaning, changing diapers (whether cloth or disposable), serving, achieving, befriending–Living–it’s all for the Lord!

Focus and live for Him.  Freedom from comparing, peace in knowing He loves and made us, strength in living each day for Him, and Him alone…now that kind of life has no comparison!  

~~~

Dear Lord,  It seems that our flesh cannot help but to compare everything we do with everyone we know, and even those we don’t.  It’s a battle we face day in and out.  Help us to focus on Jesus as our standard, and no one else.  Destroy our worldly speculations and comparisons, and bring our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.  We yield ourselves to you.  Let all we are, say, and do, be for You glory. You alone are worthy.  Amen.

~~~ 

Please come back every Tuesday–Titus 2sday–when we seek God’s Word for hope, grace, and strength to be the women He made us to be.

Titus 2’sday

I wonder why I thought I could write for TWO blogs when I have a difficult time maintaining one? Some of you may know from my New Year’s goals, that I wanted to invest time into another blog, specifically for women, to encourage, train, and minister according to Titus 2:3-5:

Older women, likewise, are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 

With honesty and personal candor, I realize that I can’t maintain two blogs.  I’d rather do ONE thing well, instead of two things mediocre! 

Therefore, I’m closing up shop on Titus2U, and instead, designating every Tuesday at this site as Titus 2’sdays [groan], where we can discuss and encourage one another on how to love our husbands, love our children, be kind, sensible, responsible at home, and bring glory to the Lord and His Word! 

For starters, here is my first, and only, post from Titus2U:

Contrary Mary:

 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?

 

I always think of this nursery rhyme when I find myself being argumentative with my husband.  You know, it’s those days when he might say the sky is blue, and I say it’s gray. He wants to wait, I want to move forward, etc.  Have you ever found yourself being ‘contrary Mary’?

Maybe some cues of what contrary ‘looks like’ will help out:

From Webster:
“being so different as to be at opposite extremes : also,
being opposite to or in conflict with each other;  unwilling to accept control or advice

From Rogets:
Anti-  [anything!]
hostile
unfriendly
opponent
adverse
repugnant
negative
opposite
conflictive
alien
uncooperative
obstinate
clashing
discordant
competitive
hindering
disagreeable

From Vine’s:
against
accuser
antagonistic
adversary
set against
oppose
resist

This is convicting!  And now I know I don’t want to be Contrary Mary…standing there, with hoe in hand, pointing out why I am right, my husband is wrong, and “what’s more…yaddi yaddi yah”.

How can I keep from being this little controlling, contrary, anti-everything woman in my home?

1.   PRAY!!  Ask the Lord to change ME….not my spouse.

2.   Seek the Lord’s righteousness and kingdom, not My own kingdom of one.

3.   Take my cues from God’s Word.  Ephesians 4:30-32:

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice

                   Be kind to one another

                   tender-hearted

                   forgiving each other,

                  just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

4.  Remember, I am a sinner saved by grace, married to another sinner saved by grace. *

 

A little prayer for today:

Dear Lord, I don’t want to be a contrary Mary, but something rises up in me, seeking control, and wanting things to go my way.  Grant me the strength and grace this day to seek first Your will and your kingdom.  Help me to think first before I speak, to weigh my words against Your Word, and to be submitted to your Holy Spirit.  I need you and trust you, Lord.  Thank you, in Jesus’ name.  Amen

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Taken from Paul D. Tripp’s book on marriage, What Did You Expect?    We will discuss more from this book in the future.

Wholly Surrendered

I wish I had better control of the songs and tunes that float through my brain.  Sometimes, out of the blue, I’ll start *hearing* or humming a tune from my past dark ages, and wonder, “where in the world did THAT come from?” 

The only way to combat the ol’ tunes is to begin singing, thinking on, and uploading new ones to my brain.  Life-giving songs, that minister grace.  That’s one reason I frequently share songs on this site, and even have a Music Box where you can listen to them, over and over.  A few other reasons are:

  1. So we can magnify the Lord together!  See Psalm 34:3
  2. To share something with others that blesses me.
  3. To, perhaps, introduce a fellow reader to a new song or group.
  4. And, to get a head-start on worship, this side of heaven!

 Many of you probably already know today’s song, Sweetly Broken, but may need to get its message into your mind (and heart) afresh.  The world’s voices yell out fear and anxiety, our flesh shouts for inappropriate desires, and Satan subtly seeks to fill our minds with accusations.   We don’t have to surrender to those thoughts.   By singing new songs of the Lord, and His great love, we are placing that ‘helmet of salvation’ over our minds.  Don’t surrender…be wholly surrendered…to the Lord.

Sweetly Broken
by Jeremy Riddle

To the cross I look
To the cross I cling.
Of its suffering I do drink.
Of its work I do sing.
On it my Savior, both bruised and crushed,
showed that God is love, and God is just.

Chorus

At the cross You, beckon me,
draw me gently, to my knees and I am,
lost for words
so, lost in love
I’m, sweetly broken,
wholly surrendered!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What a priceless gift, undeserved life
have I been given through Christ crucified.
You’ve called me out of death. You’ve called me into life.
And I was under Your wrath,
now through the cross, I’m reconciled.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At the cross You, beckon me,
draw me gently, to my knees and I am,
lost for words so, lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken,
wholly surrendered!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At the cross You, beckon me,
draw me gently, to my knees and I am,
lost for words so, lost in love, I’m sweetly broken,
wholly surrendered!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In awe of the cross I must confess,
how wondrous Your redeeming love
and how great is Your faithfulness!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At the cross You, beckon me,
You draw me gently, to my knees
and I am, lost for words so, lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken,
wholly surrendered!

Listen and worship with this song in the Music Box!   Surrender to His Song today, not the world’s.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Veiled Voyage

“He stilled the storm to a whisper, the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:29, 30

 

I’m already behind this year! 

For several years, I’ve begun the New Year by writing two prayers to the Lord:  one of thankfulness for His supreme mercy and grace for the past; the other, a prayer of dedication, commitment, and a few requests for the year ahead.  This morning, I re-read several of these and was awestruck, all over again, by God’s faithfulness in my life.  So much so, that words escape me and I cant’ compose any new thoughts!

       Or, in other words, I haven’t written my 2011 prayers…

But I love the following from The Valley of Vision [1], because it expresses an utter dependency on the Lord that I long to foster with each passing day.  Perhaps you may take this with you on the journey through 2011.  A journey, or voyage, presently veiled from our eyes by a gracious and understanding Lord.

 

 

Voyage

O Lord of the oceans,
My little bark sails on a restless sea,
Grant that Jesus may sit at the helm and steer me safely,
Suffer no adverse currents to divert my heavenward course,
Let not my faith be wrecked amid storms and shoals,
Bring me to harbour with flying pennants, hull unbreached, cargo unspoiled.

My little bark sails..

I ask great things,
     expect great things,
         shall receive great things.
I venture on Thee wholly, fully,
          my wind, sunshine, anchor, defence.

The voyage is long, the waves high, the storms pitiless,
but my helm is held steady,
the Word secures safe passage,
Thy grace wafts me onward,
my haven is guaranteed.

My haven is guaranteed

This day will bring me nearer home,
Grant me holy consistency in every transaction,
            my peace flowing as a running tide,
            my righteousness as every chasing wave.
Help me to live circumspectly,
with skill to convert every care into prayer.

Halo my path with gentleness and love,
smooth every asperity of temper,
let me not forget how easy it is to occasion grief,
may I strive to bind up every wound,
            and pour oil on all troubled waters.

Halo my path with gentleness and love

May the world this day be happier and better because I live,
Let my mast before me be the Saviour’s cross,
and every oncoming wave the fountain in His side.

My Mast, the Saviour's Cross

Help me, protect me in the moving sea,
until I reach the shore of unceasing praise.

 

…with unceasing praise!

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lord, help me to turn every care into prayer, and give thanks for Your unfailing love!

From Psalm 107…

Some went out on the sea in ships;
   they were merchants on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the LORD,
   his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
   that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
   in their peril their courage melted away.

They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
   they were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
   and He brought them out of their distress. 
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
   the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
   and he guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

 

 

[1] Arthur Bennett, Ed.  The Valley of Vision:  A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions.  Banner of Truth Trust, Carlisle, PA.  2003

A Christmas Prayer

The best of times…and the worst of times.  The Christmas season.  In so many ways, it is the best of times, as Scrooge’s nephew says, “a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely…” [1]

But if bad, even awful, things happen during this “festive season of the year,” including loss, sickness, loneliness, unemployment or unmet expectations, Christmas can easily turn dark, and feel like the worst time of the year.  

Our friend, Colin Bernard, who sings the song in the YouTube video below, puts it this way:  

“For some people, Christmas is the loneliest time of the year and I think we’ve all had a chance to experience a bit of sadness at one Christmas or another. But Christmas being what it is, reminds us that the future is loaded with Hope….  As secular and as commercial as Christmas has become, there is always that underlying yearning and thirst for the hope that Christ offers. Everyone feels it but most don’t realize what [Who] the source of that yearning is.”

  

 

A CHRISTMAS PRAYER
by Joel Bernard

Well the music is sweet and the snow it is white
And I’m surrounded by strangers
On this frozen Christmas night
O Angel of Mercy, Angel of Light
Won’t you be a lamp at my feet
Lead me through this restless night

And I’d give anything to feel Christmas in my heart
And I’d give everything to sing songs of this holy night
And I’d give anything to feel Christmas in my heart tonight

Now I find myself on this empty street
Four o’clock in the morning, such a deafening silence
The snow it is gentle, falling light and sweet
Softly resting on me, just a token of Your love.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you know the Hope of Christmas, be thankful! Share with others, humbly, gently, yet passionately.

If your Christmas feels like the worst of times, you’re not alone.  Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Your burdens are very real, but thankfully, He offers comfort that’s even more real.  He isn’t just a Babe in a manger.  He is a loving Redeemer who is only a prayer away.

 

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

 

[1] Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1843.  Pg. 9.