Monday, March 23, 2015

extravagant grace...


When I saw this beautiful work of art, Extravagant Grace, by Cherry Ashen Fargo, it took me back to a recent Chris Tomlin concert where we heard a short message by pastor Louie Giglio on the parable about our Heavenly Father found in Luke 15. He explained that the word “prodigal” means “extravagant, lavish,” although the son was extravagant in his lifestyle, our Heavenly Father portrayed in this parable was also extravagant in his grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

Your love is extravagant, Your friendship, so intimate, I find I’m moving to the rhythms of Your grace, Your fragrance is intoxicating in our secret place, Your love is extravagant, Spread wide in the arms of Christ is the love that covers sin, No greater love have I ever known, You considered me a friend, capture my heart again...

What greater example of God’s extravagant grace is there than the thief on the cross who says to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).  And Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Christ has great joy in redeeming sinners…“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” A word study reveals that the phrase that’s translated, “I tell you the truth,” comes from the single word, “Amen.”

When the thief prays, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom,” Jesus replies, “Amen, today you will be with me in paradise!”  He says, “Amen!” to the prayer of faith.  This is why He came.  This is why He is suffering. Christ says, “Amen” to the simplest faith.

How is God’s extravagant grace made known to us and lavished upon us?  In the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. One of the thieves has a change of heart, and right there on the cross Christ saves him. Charles Spurgeon says, "This man was our Lord’s last companion on earth and His first companion in heaven. He says to him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.  I’m going to make you my friend.”  Spurgeon pictures Christ entering the glory of heaven, “Who is this that enters the pearly gate at the same moment as the King of glory? Who is this favored companion of the Redeemer? Is it some honored martyr? Is it a faithful apostle? Is it a patriarch like Abraham or a prince like David? It is none of these. Behold, and be amazed at sovereign grace…” Extravagant grace!

Christ saves by grace, through faith and without works. The story of the thief on the cross makes God’s extravagant grace in salvation crystal clear—this man had no works to offer, before or after his salvation. Commentator A. W. Pink asks, “What could the thief do? He could not walk in the paths of righteousness for there was a nail through either foot. He could not perform any good works for there was a nail through either hand. He could not turn over a new leaf and live a better life for he was dying.” The wonderful truth is that God saves by His extravagant grace, through faith and without works.

A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. Galatians 2:16

He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. Titus 3:5

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

The gift of assurance flows from Christ saving us by His extravagant grace, through faith and without works. If our works were in any way involved in our gaining entrance into heaven, assurance would be impossible. We could never know if we had done enough. His work is finished. It’s perfect and complete.

Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Christ is the Lord of paradise. He holds its keys. There can be no higher assurance than His promise.This man is a criminal and he’s on a cross. He’s absolutely hopeless and powerless, and in the middle of all this pain and guilt, Christ says to him, “You will be with me in paradise, today!”  Spurgeon says, "This man had breakfast with the devil, met Christ before noon, and then had supper in paradise."

Death does not lead to a long period of unconsciousness. For a Christian believer, death is an immediate translation into the joys of life at the right hand of God. "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord...Today you will be with me in paradise."

Heaven is much nearer than we think. I love the way C. S. Lewis pictures that in the Narnia novels, where the children slip into a glorious world that is just on the other side of the wardrobe. Our life is like a mist, like steam or a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Everything that’s burdening us and consuming us now is like breath on a window on a cold day. Paradise is heaven and the greatest joy of heaven is the presence of Jesus. "The lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water" (Revelation 7:17). Christ Himself will lead us into all the joys of heaven. To those who die, Christ says, “You will be with me,” and to those who live, Christ says, “I will be with you. I’ll never leave you, I’ll never forsake you."

If you would like to purchase the beautiful Extravagant Grace mixed media pictured above by artist Cherry Ashen Fargo, here is the link where a digital download can be purchased for just $8. You can also connect with artist Cherry Ashen Fargo’s etsy website and Facebook page.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

a calm assurance


The song Be Still My Soul on Amy Grant’s Legacy CD played on “repeat” while my Mom was in palliative care prior to her homegoing. It begins with a melancholy guitar solo called Fields of Plenty, and culminates with a voice-over poem by Amy. My heart was so captured by it I wrote every word in the Bible I had with me. Even listening to it now brings back the flood of warm feelings of peace I experienced during those days, knowing that Jesus was with me in my Mom's room…gently carrying her home... Delight yourselves in the Lord, yes, and find your joy in Him. Be known for your gentleness and never forget the nearness of our God. Don’t worry, whatever is going to come, just tell God every detail, and the peace of God that no one understands will come to you. No, don’t worry, just tell Him every detail and His peace will come to you. This poem always brings to mind one of my favorite Scriptures...

Philippians 4:6-7

Amplified: Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Barclay: Do not worry about anything; but in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all human thought, will stand sentinel over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Lightfoot: Entertain no anxious cares, but throw them all upon God. By your prayer and your supplication make your every want known to him. If you do this, then the peace of God, far more effective than any forethought or contrivance of man, will keep watch over your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

NLT: Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Phillips: Don't worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.

Weymouth: Do not be over-anxious about anything, but by prayer and earnest pleading, together with thanksgiving, let your request be unreservedly made known in the presence of God. And then the peace of God, which transcends all our powers of thought, will be a garrison to guard your hearts and minds in union with Christ Jesus.

Wuest: Stop perpetually worrying about even one thing, but in everything by prayer whose essence is that of worship and devotion and by supplication which is a cry for your personal needs, with thanksgiving let your requests for the things asked for be made known in the presence of God, and the peace of God which surpasses all power of comprehension shall mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Young's Literal: for nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer, and by supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, that is surpassing all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

The Message: Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

TLB: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

ESV: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Peace is the calm assurance that Jesus knows what He’s doing. It is not related to our environment or circumstances. Peace is a gift, something Jesus gives. Through thankful, fervent prayer—articulating our burdens to Jesus—we exchange anxiety for peace. We seize His promises and assurances. The peace of God is powerfully vigilant, for it literally guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We can imagine this peace as a fortress encircling us. It protects our mental, emotional, and spiritual health; our stability; our steadfastness; our confidence in God. As we pray, we experience His peace, the walls grow taller and stronger, protecting us more and more. Peace guards our hearts, we live behind the safe protection of our fortress of peace. No matter what, ruling our hearts is the calm assurance that Jesus knows what He’s doing.

Heavenly Father, God of peace, teach me the path of peace. Teach me to pray with thanksgiving, to submit my requests and needs to You—and to leave them there. Forgive me for trying to carry my burdens on my own. You don’t want me to live in the clutches of anxiety;  You want me to live freely, guarded by Your peace. Please flood and guard my heart with peace. Remind me, Father, that peace is not the absence of problems in my life but the calm assurance that You know what You’re doing. You have never failed me, and You will never leave me or forsake me—my confidence is in You. In the name of Your Son, Jesus, the Prince of Peace, amen.

Take a few moments to be reminded of this peace that comes as we trust Jesus in this beautiful song, No Matter What, by Kerrie Roberts…I'm running back to Your promises one more time, Lord that's all I can hold on to, I gotta say this has taken me by surprise, but nothing surprises You. Before a heartache can ever touch my life, it has to go through Your hands, and even though I keep asking why, I keep asking why; No matter what, I'm gonna love You, no matter what, I'm gonna need You, I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain, but if not, I'll trust You, no matter what, no matter what.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Lamb of God in my place...

 
As this beautiful new hymn, The Lamb of God, reminds us, The Lamb of God, in my place, Your blood poured out, my sin erased, it was my death You died, I am raised to life, hallelujah, the Lamb of God. It is a blessing to know that as a child of God, I am under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Knowing that God’s love for me and approval of me will never be determined by my performance is the most encouraging promise to which I cling. I have placed my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Nothing I do will make God love me more and nothing I do will make God love me less. I am redeemed by His precious blood; there is no greater love. As He is, so am I in this world (I John 4:17). The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed (Romans 8:1).

As I pray God’s Word, fear, doubt, and discouragement leave and His peace renews my heart and mind. As I experience His peace, I recognize when I have been held captive by controlling thoughts. As I stand in agreement with God, saying the same thing God says about my specific thoughts, I see the lies I have believed as wallpaper in my mind. I ask God to help me tear down the lies wallpapering my mind and re-wallpaper my mind with the Truth of God’s Word. I ask God to help me see situations in my life the way He sees them. The more I see the way God sees, I become saturated with the favor of God, seeing His view of me through the blood of Christ.
In Christ, I am...

BLESSED with every spiritual blessing,
         ACCEPTED in the Beloved Son of God,
                 ADOPTED as a child of the King,
                         CHOSEN before the foundation of the world,
                                 REDEEMED by His Blood, 
                                          FORGIVEN by His Grace,
                                                   LOVED with an everlasting love, underneath are the everlasting arms.

When you feel betrayed, God says: You are BLESSED
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3)

When you feel ignored, God says: You are ACCEPTED
"According to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (Eph. 1:5-6)

When you feel abandoned, God says: You are ADOPTED
“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. (Eph. 1:4-5)

When you feel inadequate, God says: You are CHOSEN
“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” (Eph. 1:4)

When you feel rejected, God says: You are REDEEMED
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.” (Eph. 1:7-8)

When you feel condemned, God says: You are FORGIVEN
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.” (Eph. 1:7-8)

When you feel forgotten, God says: You are LOVED
“Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” (Eph. 1:4) “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jer. 31:3) “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deu. 33:27)

When you feel unable or unstable, God says: You are ABLE
“The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!” (Hab. 3:19).

When you feel exhausted, God says: I will give you REST
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)


When you feel you can’t go on, God says: My grace is sufficient
"But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

When you feel you don’t know what to do, God says: I will direct your steps
"Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

When you feel you can’t go on, God says: You can do all things
"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

When you feel it’s not worth it, God says: IT WILL BE WORTH IT
"We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Romans 8:28)

When you feel you can’t forgive yourself, God says: I FORGIVE YOU
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)


When you feel you can’t manage, God says: I WILL SUPPLY ALL YOUR NEEDS

"God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:19)

When you feel worried and frustrated, God says: CAST YOUR CARE ON ME
"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”(1 Peter 5:7)

When you don’t know what to do, God says: I WILL GIVE YOU WISDOM
"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)


When you feel all alone, God says: I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OR FORSAKE YOU
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut.31:6)

Feel free to use my Pinterest Board, Re-Wallpapering our minds with the Truth of God's Word, to Pin these Scripture promises as you would like!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Almighty...

Looking up to heaven through the branches of a 2,000 year old olive tree on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem

It was quite a moment at the Chris Tomlin Love Ran Red concert at the USF Sun Dome. Chris asked the audience to send in questions for him to answer, saying he’d never done this before at a concert. He read and answered several questions, and then he came to this one, “What is your favorite Scripture verse?” He immediately replied, “John 18:6,” and then he went on to explain why. But instantly, I knew why. It had been a favorite verse to me, too, from the moment my foot first touched the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

As soon then as he had said unto them, I am [he], they went backward, and fell to the ground.--John 18:6

A word study of the ESV English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament reveals, Jesus answered them: “ego eimi” (I AM).

It is evident that it was the power of God that made these 600-plus men fall backward to the ground, but why did it happen when He said, "I am he"? In this verse, the word "he" is italicized. That means that the word "he" was not in the original text but was added by the translators to make the sentence grammatically correct. In this instance, Jesus literally said, "I am." Since Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, His statement of "I am" carried just as much weight as when it was spoken to Moses (Exodus 3:14). This was nothing less than the Almighty God releasing His glory through this powerful statement of "I AM." No wonder these men were knocked to the ground.



Our Israeli tour bus
stopped at the top of the Mount of Olives. As I stepped off the bus, and my foot first touched the Mount of Olives, I became so aware of the holy presence of our Lord. I remembered God's Word in Zechariah 14:4...On that day, His Feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west.

My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ walked here, prayed here, ascended to Heaven here, and one day He will return here, splitting the Mount of Olives like the veil of the temple.

As I begin to walk down the steep incline down the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane, my eyes begin to fill with tears for the sweat drops of blood pressed from my Savior as He wept and prayed, My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet, not as I will, but as You will.

Touching the huge olive tree I photographed above, estimated to be over 2,000 years old, I suddenly realize, He could have prayed here that night, beside this very tree. That night when He went further still after asking His disciples to pray with Him for just an hour...the place where Jesus was betrayed with a kiss.


Picturing the scene
from John 18:4-6, Jesus knowing all that was going to happen to Him went out and asked them, Who is it you want?" When Jesus said, "I AM," they drew back and fell to the ground.

I hear my dear Lord saying, "I AM," right here where I am standing now. My God and my Savior Jesus Christ, the great "I AM."

What power knocked 600 armed soldiers to their backs? The God of all creation, El Elyon, the Sovereign and Supreme Most High God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob stood before them in living, breathing flesh and uttered His perfect, divine, and holy name: "I AM!"

Remembering Acts 1:11-12, This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives.

I will never be the same again...Lord Jesus, open the blocked artery that connects my head to my heart. Open my mind that I may understand the Scriptures, to have Your Feast every day until I see You Face-to-face. In the precious and holy name of Jesus Christ, I pray, amen



Take a few moments
to worship Jesus Christ, Almighty, in this new hymn by Chris Tomlin…
You have no rival
You stand alone
The heavens worship before Your throne
There is no one like You
You have no equal
Your kingdom reigns
Yours is the highest of every name
There is no one like You
Almighty
We're standing in the presence of Your majesty
You're holy
You alone the sovereign crown of royalty
You're the King of Kings
Almighty
Our GOD eternal the great I AM
The praise of angels will never end
There is no one like You
Eyes like fire
Face like the sun
A voice like thunder
Who was and is and is to come
I see the holy one, high and exalted
I hide my eyes and I tremble before Him
I tremble before Him
I see the holy one high and exalted
I hide my eyes and I tremble before Him
I tremble, You are...

 
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Monday, February 23, 2015

IN weakness...broken vessels...


At our Ash Wednesday service, we sang the most anointed song, Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) by Hillsong Worship…we were all touched by the Holy atmosphere in our worship center and in our hearts as we sang these words together...All these pieces…Broken and scattered…In mercy gathered…Mended and whole…Empty handed…But not forsaken…I've been set free, I've been set free…Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see…Oh I can see You now…Oh I can see the love in Your eyes…Laying Yourself down…Raising up the broken to life…You take our failure, You take our weakness, You set Your treasure in jars of clay…So take this heart, Lord, I'll be your vessel…The world to see Your life in me...

As I worshiped at this Ash Wednesday service, the phrase, "IN weakness," came to mind from this Scripture...
2 Corinthians 12:9:

NASB:
And He has said to me, "My  grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of  Christ may dwell in me.
Amplified: But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
Barclay: And he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” So it is with the greatest gladness that I boast in my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may pitch its tent upon me.
ESV:   But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
KJV: 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.
NET: But he said to me, "My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.
NIV: But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
NJB: but he has answered me, 'My grace is enough for you: for power is at full stretch in weakness.' It is, then, about my weaknesses that I am happiest of all to boast.
NLT: Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.
Phillips:  but his reply has been, "My grace is enough for you: for where there is weakness, my power is shown the more completely." Therefore, I have cheerfully made up my mind to be proud of my weaknesses, because they mean a deeper experience of the power of Christ.
Wuest: And He has said to me, and His declaration still stands, My grace is enough for you, for power is moment by moment coming to its full energy and complete operation in the sphere of weakness. Therefore, most gladly will I the rather boast in my weaknesses in order that the power of the Christ [like the Shekinah Glory in the Holy of Holies of the Tent of Meeting] may take up its residence in me [working within me and giving me help].

Young's Literal:  and He said to me, 'Sufficient for thee is My grace, for My power in infirmity is perfected;' most gladly, therefore, will I rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of the Christ may rest on me.
The Message: and then he told me, "My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness." Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. 
A Greek word study of this Scripture reveals that Jesus’ first words are "is sufficient" which places emphasis on our supply of His grace; a truth which gives us encouragement to face difficult times. Jesus' response to Paul follows a chiastic pattern (a literary device in which a sequence of ideas is presented and then repeated in reverse order. The result is a “mirror” effect as the ideas are “reflected” back in a passage. Each idea is connected to its “reflection” by a repeated word, often in a related form...e.g., he came in triumph and in defeat departs)
A...is sufficient
     B...for you
         C...my grace
         C...my power
     B...in weakness
A...is perfected


"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect IN weakness.”

IN distresses--circumstances forced upon you, reversals of fortune against your will. This could refer to any situation where you feel trapped. You didn’t plan it or think it would be this way. But there you are, and it’s hard.

IN persecutions--wounds, abuses, painful circumstances, acts of prejudice or exploitation from people because of your Christian faith or your Christian moral commitments. It’s when you are not treated fairly.

Whether IN distresses or persecutions, Corrie Ten Boom encourages us...
Look at self and be distressed,
Look at others and be depressed,
Look at Jesus and you’ll be at rest!


My Daddy, Eston Willis,
kept in his Bible, a copy of the following poem which describes our Master Weaver's plan which includes  weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecutions, difficulties...
 
My life is but a weaving,
between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors.
He worketh steadily.

Oft times He weaveth sorrow
and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper
and I the under side.

Not till the loom is silent
and the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
and explain the reason why,

The dark threads are as needful
in the Weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver,
in the pattern He has planned.

Consider the underside of a handmade tapestry described in this poem. The elaborate coordinated threads on the exterior side of the fabric, woven with precision and creativity, produce a work of art intended by the weaver. The side that will not be seen, however, is a tangled mess of thread, yarn, and knots. How similar to life! Christ uses what appears to be random circumstances with no meaning—simply knots and tangles—and makes something beautiful out of them. Lord Jesus, help me not draw undue attention to myself, even in suffering, knowing that You are at work mending and making whole, raising up the broken to life...IN my weakness...

All these pieces…Broken and scattered…In mercy gathered…Mended and whole…Empty handed…But not forsaken…I've been set free, I've been set free…Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see…Oh I can see You now…Oh I can see the love in Your eyes…Laying Yourself down…Raising up the broken to life…You take our failure, You take our weakness, You set Your treasure in jars of clay…So take this heart, Lord, I'll be your vessel…The world to see Your life in me...

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