Tag Archives: Grace

The Life-Boat Of Free Grace!

The life-boat of free grace!

(James Smith, “The Complaint!” 1864)

“I am cast down!”

And why are you cast down?

“My heart is burdened with a sense of my short-comings! Every duty I perform is so imperfect. Every purpose I form is so soon frustrated. Every hope of seeing better days is so soon beclouded.

My heart is so fearfully depraved.
My life is so unlike the life of Jesus.
My temper is so unholy.
My prayers are so brief and heartless.
My praises are so feeble and fitful.
I do so little good.
I live to so little purpose.
My evidences are so dim.
My prospects are so overcast.
I am harassed sometimes with the fear of death.
I cannot realize the glories of Heaven.
I am dissatisfied with the world — and yet glued to it!
I hate sin — and yet fall into it!
I am a riddle, a mystery, a mass of inconsistency!
Is it, then, any wonder that I am cast down?”

No, if you look at yourself, and pore over the things you have named — then it is no wonder that you are cast down! They are enough to cast anyone down! But if you carry them to the throne of grace, if you there confess them before God, if you look to Jesus to save you from them — then, in spite of them — you will not long be cast down.

I know it is difficult to do this. There is a natural proneness to pore over such things. One feels at times a secret liking to indulge in gloomy thoughts.

But we must look away from self — for if we do not, we shall become anxious, doubting and gloomy! We must run the race, not looking at our imperfections, short-comings, and failures — but looking unto Jesus. He knows what we are. He knew what we would be — before He called us by His grace; yes, before He shed His blood for us!

He loved us, as sinners.
He died for us, as sinners.
He called us, as sinners.

He saves us, as sinners. He will have all the glory of saving us, and He will get great glory by doing so, because we are such great sinners; and do not, cannot, do anything to repay Him for His wondrous love! Salvation is by free grace — from first to last! Believe this, and it will raise up your drooping mind!

The life-boat of free grace has put you on board the vessel of salvation, and that will convey you safely to the port of glory! Do not look at your spiritual destitution, or feebleness, or incapacity, or imperfections — but trust in your Pilot, rely on your Captain, and expect His mercy and merit to land you safe in Heaven at last!

As imperfect as you now are, and as imperfect you will be — your dying prayer will still be, “God be merciful unto me — a sinner!”

Hope in God!
His mercy is great unto the heavens,
His grace is as free as the air,
His love is as changeless as His nature,
His promise is as immutable as His love.

Hope in God, for you shall yet praise Him. He will save you for His own sake, and present you before assembled worlds as a monument of His mercy, and a trophy of His grace!

Grow old sweetly and beautifully

Grow old sweetly and beautifully

(J. R. Miller, “Devotional Hours with the Bible” 1908)

It takes a great deal of grace to grow old sweetly and beautifully. It is not possible to carry the alertness and energy of young manhood, into advanced years. Yet if we live wisely and rightly all our lives—old age ought to be the best of life. We certainly ought to make it beautiful and godly, for our life is not finished until we come to its very last day.

We ought to be wiser when we are old—than ever we have been in any former years. We ought to have learned by experience. We ought to be better in every way—with more of God’s peace in our hearts, with more gentleness and patience. We ought to have learned self-control, and to be better able to rule our own spirit. We ought to have more love, more joy, more thoughtfulness, to be more considerate, to have more humility.

Old age never should be the dregs of the years, the mere cinder of a burnt-out life. One may not have the vigor and strenuousness of the mid-years—but one should be every way truer, richer-hearted, holier. If the outward man has grown weaker and feebler—the inner man should have grown stronger and Christlier.

Can You Hear The Dogs Of Hell?

Are we Christians–or are we worldlings? ~ Horatius Bonar 

We would soon hear all the dogs of Hell baying with all their might against us! ~ Charles Spurgeon)

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19

There would be much more persecution than there is–if there were more real Christians. But we have become so like the world, that the world does not hate us as it once did. If we would be more holy, more true, more Christ-like, more godly–we would soon hear all the dogs of Hell baying with all their might against us!

Remember, my brethren, whoever you may be, that if there is no distinction between you and the world around you–then you may be certain that you are of the world. For, there must always be some marks in the children of God to distinguish them from the ungodly. There is a something in them which is not to be found in the best worldling–something which is not to be discovered in the most admirable carnal man. A something in their character which can be readily perceived and which marks them as belonging to another and higher race, the twice-born, the elect of God, eternally chosen by Him–and, therefore, made to be choice ones through the effectual working of His grace.

“I have given them Your word and the world has hated them–for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” John 17:14

What Is Love?

What is love?

LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.

LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.

LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.

LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.

LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.

LOVE IS… a making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.

LOVE IS… being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.

LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.

LOVE IS… being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.

LOVE IS… being a good student of another, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.

LOVE IS… being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.

LOVE IS… being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.

LOVE IS… recognizing the high value of trust in a relationship and being faithful to your promises and true to your word.

LOVE IS… speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack the other person’s character or assault their intelligence.

LOVE IS… being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to coerce the other person into giving you what you want or doing something your way.

LOVE IS… the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do as a spouse, parent, neighbor, etc.

LOVE IS… a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding, and active love in your relationships.

LOVE IS… staying faithful to your commitment to treat another with appreciation, respect, and grace, even in moments when the other person doesn’t seem deserving or is unwilling to reciprocate.

LOVE IS… the willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the sake of a relationship without asking for anything in return or using your sacrifices to place the other person in your debt.

LOVE IS… being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that would harm a relationship, hurt the other person, or weaken the bond of trust between you.

LOVE IS… refusing to be self-focused or demanding, but instead looking for specific ways to serve, support, and encourage, even when you are busy or tired.

LOVE IS… daily admitting to yourself, the other person, and God that you are unable to be driven by a cruciform love without God’s protecting, providing, forgiving, rescuing, and delivering grace.

[By Paul Tripp.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails!” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

A Bag, a Book, and a Bottle!

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God takes great care to comfort His people in their many trials and sorrows in this world. One of the goals which He commands His preachers to have, is the comfort of His people. He says, “Comfort, comfort My people.” Here are three things described in the Word of God that should be of great comfort to every believer.

1. God has made A BAG FOR OUR SINS. Job said, “My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and you sew up my iniquity.” In ancient times when men died at sea, their bodies were placed in a weighted bag which was sewn together and sealed. Then they were cast into the depths of the sea.

That is what God has done with our sins. They are cast “into the depths of the sea.” When Christ died for our sins which were imputed to Him, He put them all away. They were buried in the sea of God’s infinite forgiveness, put away never to be brought up again. God almighty will never charge us with sin, impute sin to us, remember our sins against us, or treat us any less graciously because of our sin. That is the forgiveness of God! “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

2. The Lord has written A BOOK FOR OUR NAMES. Take heart child of God. Your name is written in the book of God! Before the worlds were made, the Lord God inscribed the names of His elect in the Lamb’s book of life. In that book God has recorded, not only the names of the chosen heirs of Heaven, but also all things pertaining to them. The Lamb’s book of life is the book of God’s eternal purpose of grace, predestination, and election. The fact that our names are written in that book means that our salvation is a matter of absolute certainty, and that all things work together for our good by God’s arrangement to secure our predestined end, which is perfect conformity to Christ. When our Lord says, “Rejoice because your names are written in Heaven,” He is telling us that we have nothing to fear. All is well with those whose names are written in Heaven.

3. Moreover, the Lord God keeps A BOTTLE FOR OUR TEARS. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” It was customary at ancient Egyptian funerals for mourners to have a small cloth or sponge to wipe away their tears. Then they were squeezed into a small vial, a tear bottle, and placed in the tomb with the dead, symbolizing the care the mourners had for the one who had died. Even so, the Lord our God, our heavenly Father, our almighty Savior, and our holy Comforter tenderly cares for us. We are the very apple of His eye.

The Lord our God has . . .
put our sins in a bag and buried them,
written our names in a book to remember them, and
placed our tears in a bottle to show His tender care for us.

Could anything be more comforting in this world of sin, sorrow, and death?

(Don Fortner)

God’s Workmanship!

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“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

There is an infinite difference between the materials that men employ to construct and compose their masterpieces — and the materials that God uses to create sinners anew in Christ Jesus. Men work with the best of materials to showcase their talents, but God works with the worst — to showcase His power, wisdom, and skill.

The most gifted sculptors carve their creations out of the finest pieces of ivory, marble, and jade. The best jewelers seek only the finest gold and silver to form their bracelets and rings — they utilize only the most desirable gems to adorn their jewelry; rubies of the highest grade, diamonds of most exquisite clarity, and emeralds of impeccable luster. Da Vinci painted on a clean canvas with fresh paint when he painted the Mona Lisa. Beethoven and Bach chose blank sheets of clean white paper upon which to compose their symphonies.

But God is not like men. His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. God employs, not the best, not the finest, not the most appealing of materials when creating His masterpieces — but the worst! He uses what no one else wants. He uses the offscouring of humanity — to display His handiwork and magnify His grace. God constructs His masterpiece, not from a perfectly shaped piece of ivory — but from a deformed, twisted, marred chunk of hard rough stone that has no attraction.

God has purposed to conform His redeemed people into the pristine image of His darling Son. While keeping His eye fixed upon His Son, using the chisel of His grace — God sculpts rebel sinners into the likeness of Christ!

God paints, not on a clean white canvas — but on a canvas that has been . . .
stained with sin,
spotted with corruption, and
bespattered with the filth of the fall.
As the perfect Painter, God looks to Christ His Model, and, with the brush of omnipotent mercy in His ever steady hand of sovereign power — He begins to paint His children, one by one, into the family portrait; tracing every line with divine precision, filling in every grace with unfailing accuracy, accentuating every corner of their character with a whole array of heavenly hues:

blues of faith and surrender,
violets of honesty and godly fear,
greens of tenderness and gratitude,
reds of love and compassion,
yellows of patience and perseverance —
painting them all in the similitude of Christ His beloved Son!

God does not compose His symphony on a blank piece of sheet music. Rather, He blots out the discordant notes of sin, rebellion, and impurity — and with the permanent ink of immutable grace, He rewrites the sorrowful sonnet of sin, transforming it into the song of salvation, inscribing on our hearts the heavenly notes of free forgiveness, eternal life, and everlasting righteousness through Christ our Savior! With heavenly wisdom and unseen skill, God makes the sad song of human misery — into a glorious gospel melody, a tune that sounds best when played on the broken instruments of contrite hearts!

Our God has . . . .

done the unthinkable,
saved the unsavable,
fixed the unfixable!

He has created a masterpiece using a rotting chunk of fallen humanity as His workpiece! What a wonder! By the grace and power of God, “The king’s daughter is all glorious within!”

When God’s work is all done,
when His poem is finished,
when His symphony composed,
and His masterpiece complete —
He will present us to Himself holy and without blemish, “a glorious church, having no spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing!”

God’s work of grace in us begins in regeneration and conversion. It continues until the day when our salvation is consummated in resurrection glory, when we will be perfectly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ!

“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son!” Romans 8:29

(Frank Hall)

Losses, crosses, disappointments and bereavements.

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“Unto you therefore who believe — He is precious!” 1 Peter 2:7

Christ is especially precious to believers — when the emptiness of the world is discovered. The soul having tried the world, has found it . . .

false and fickle,
an empty cistern,
a dry well,
a cloud without water,
only vanity and vexation of spirit!

The Christian has experienced that . . .
the world’s pleasures — end in pain,
its honors — end in disgrace,
and its wealth — ends in absolute poverty.

Now turning from the world, to Jesus — it finds . . .

solid happiness,
substantial pleasure,
full supplies.

It obtains . . .
a deep and lasting peace which passes all understanding,
unsearchable riches in Christ, and
honors which will never pass away.

O how precious is Jesus, when this world appears to be a valley of tears! Almost everything earthly is at times calculated to . . .

cause sorrow,
fill us with sadness,
and draw forth tears.
Losses, crosses, disappointments and bereavements — all conspire to make us sad. Earth is to us a Valley of Achor — the place of trouble and sorrow.

Now turning to Jesus, we find a friend who loves at all times, and a brother born for adversity.
He makes up for every loss,
He sanctifies every disappointment,
and He fills for us every relation.

His presence is . . .

like a flowing spring — in a dreary desert,
like a cheering fire — on a piercing winter’s night,
and like a happy home — to the exhausted traveler.

O how precious is Jesus now!

(James Smith, “Christ Precious!” 1861)

Everyone Was Happy

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“It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners. It was understood that whoever was caught doing this received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their [the communists’ ] terms. It was a deal; we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching. They were happy beating us, so everyone was happy.”

Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ

Tongues Like Thrusting Swords

Hi all, wanted to post a seemingly random encouragement this morning! 😀 

Sarah & i have just returned from a hospital appointment(don’t panic it was only a scan, lol) where i was flooded with Bible verses when leaving the waiting room. It was the quickest we have ever been seen and we’re still shocked now we’re back home.

We entered the waiting room and i was trying to navigate to a seat without stepping on anyones feet(that i couldn’t see) which is quite an adventure for me! 😀 And just as we sat down…Sarah’s name was called. Sarah said “Wow that’s amazingly quick, i’ve never been called that quickly before”. We got straight back up and started towards the door when i heard “That’s not fair” from a lady on my right, then “No, that’s not fair” from a lady on my left, then a few people said “No, that’s not fair they’ve just arrived”.

Jesus cautions in Matthew 12:34, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” When evil resides in the heart, it will be exposed in speech,

Before you crucify me, i’m not saying anything about the salvation of the people in the waiting room, only God knows that, it was a shocking reminder for us to take every thought captive before we show our selfishness in speech.Our tongues are like thrusting swords and we were being hacked to death without them even knowing us, or our situation.

As i was leaving through the door of shame, more Bible verses were filling my mind and i couldn’t help but be reminded of how i(and every Brother & Sister in Christ) was chosen while they were selfish sinners, and born again into the Kingdom of God to put off the old man and put on the new. The heart of stone replaced with a heart of flesh.

The unbelievers will always follow the pattern of this world. But we are called to be set apart and offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, Holy and pleasing to God. 

When first reading the verses below as a new babe in Christ, i’d never found anything that described me inside and out with such clarity. We can easily forget what we were before being saved and this terrible(yet hope filled) list is one i always return to when i need encouragement. My hope is that you’ll also be encouraged and thankful to our merciful and Loving Saviour.

Ephesians 4:17-25 Amplified Bible (AMP)

The Christian’s Walk

17 So this I say, and solemnly affirm together with the Lord [as in His presence], that you must no longer live as the [unbelieving] Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds [and in the foolishness and emptiness of their souls], 18 for their [moral] understanding is darkened and their reasoning is clouded; [they are] alienated and self-banished from the life of God [with no share in it; this is] because of the [willful] ignorance and spiritual blindness that is [deep-seated] within them, because of the hardness and insensitivity of their heart. 19 And they, [the ungodly in their spiritual apathy], having become callous and unfeeling, have given themselves over [as prey] to unbridled sensuality, eagerly craving the practice of every kind of impurity [that their desires may demand]. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way! 21 If in fact you have [really] heard Him and have been taught by Him, just as truth is in Jesus [revealed in His life and personified in Him], 22 that, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, 23 and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], 24 and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation].

25 Therefore, rejecting all falsehood [whether lying, defrauding, telling half-truths, spreading rumors, any such as these], speak truth each one with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one another [and we are all parts of the body of Christ].

Please be encouraged and season your speech with Grace and speak Truth in Love so we can build up others and not hack them down. God bless you all. 😀


Proverbs 12:18 Amplified Bible (AMP)

There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Balancing Grace & Discipleship

Hi all! I’ve just finished reading this interesting yet important article(see below) about Leading the Worship Team in a local church, and thought i’d love to hear your thoughts and expieriences on how you/your church approaches these issues.

I’m amazed by the wisdom, knowledge and diversity of all who connect with me on this blog…so i’d just love to hear and learn from you all through your comments! 😀 

The article…

If you lead worship, you know the feeling.

You’re in need of musicians and oftentimes you settle for someone who can breathe and has hands to hold an instrument. You don’t care about their standards or morality as long as you have musicians to help you lead worship.

And with a variety of people comes a variety of standards.

On the one hand, you want to challenge people to come higher – disciple them to grow in Christ. You feel a responsibility to lead worship with a team set apart to holiness. But at the same time you want to have grace for people to grow.

I mean – who wants to have standards so high that no disciples are ever made?

So here we go.

Today’s post is a question I want to ask you: What are your worship team standards? What is OK? What is not OK? What would warrant confrontation? What doesn’t really matter?

A Small List of Standards

I’m thinking of things like:

Are your musicians allowed to drink alcohol?
Are your musicians allowed to smoke?
Do your musicians need to be a born again Christians?
What if one of your team members is living & sleeping with their boyfriend/girlfriend?
Do you have a formalized dress code?
Are your musicians required to be in a small group?
Are your musicians required to be a member at the church?
What if a team member tells crude jokes or swears?
What if someone has a small drug problem?
What if a musician is homosexual?
I’d love to hear from you. It’s awesome that so many worship leaders from unique churches across the world read this blog. And to get your insight into how you approach these difficult areas will be enlightening.

I’m not trying to create a blanket of standards that every church will adopt. Every church is different – its demographic, location, vision, and goals. So one church may look completely different than another.

What is important is that you make a decision on what you believe and what you stand for. It’s important to communicate clear standards so as to minimize future awkwardness.

Saviour, Sobbing & Sharing my Testimony ~ Amazing Grace

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I was asked by our Minister Nik if i would share my Testimony in yesterdays parade service. The theme was ‘Faith through Adversity’, Nik said “i can ask you some straight forward questions, it will only take about 5 minutes(or so we thought)” “Yeah, ok, if you think it will help?”.

Sunday 8th May 2016…

Walking into the church building Sunday morning, it was quite full, as it was parade service, the scouts and other uniformed groups were there, but Nik found us seats at the front, then showed me up the steps and where i’d stand to speak, after testing the microphone i remembered the steps and sat back down. 

As i’m blind, i can’t use any notes, so i spent a little time trying to etch some answer headings into my mind, hoping i’d not veer too far off track. I then prayed that i’d use this time to Glorify Him, as i talked about the Truth that sets us free, and how i’m not ashamed of the Gospel, it’s the power of God unto Salvation to all who believe…please make it real(be careful praying this).

It;s time…

Steve, we are looking at people who have showed faith in difficult circumstances and I have asked you to share some of your story with us.

Many people here, even those who have seen you around at various church events may not know that you are blind.

My Testimony…

Nik stood next to me at the microphone and started with the first 2 questions:

Have you always been blind? How and when did you loose your sight?

I explained i’d been fully sighted until i was 24, and after 2 brain haemorrhages(March 2000) that burst my optic nerve, i’m now registered blind and have Severe Hypertensive Retinopathy.

“How did that change your life?”

I said “I can only scratch the surface this morning, but if ever you see me walking around here or in town, please ask me anything. But now i’ll try and sketch you a quick picture and give you a flavour of what happened…”

“I went to the gym 6-7 days a week, played football most evenings and was quite violent, acting the tough guy.  I wasn’t a Christian, i hadn’t been born again, or even been inside a church building…so… as i stepped out of the eye consultants office after being told i’d be blind for the rest of my life, i collapsed on the floor crying out….and this was the easy bit”.

“Following this was pure isolation… all my football mates left me, i lost my job, my car…everything, i was completely broken, and on top of that i was left to my acusing thoughts “Nobody wants you, you’re useless now, unwanted, rejected, unloved and unlovable!!”

Suddenly…

It was about this time where my mouth was silenced, an image of Jesus in Glory(Revelation 1) filled my mind, it was so clear(not blurred by my blindness) I could see His flaming eyes of judgment…then…the image changed, it was Jesus on the cross, now His eyes were filled with Mercy, Compassion & Grace, and while looking down straight at me he said “I did this for you, so that you can live. I…LOVE…YOU!!!

I started sobbing uncontrollably…i’d never sobbed like this in my entire life, and it took a couple of minutes for me to try and start talking again….but more sobbing…i was completely undone.

I knew He’d given His life so i could live. He’d come down so far to save me it is immeasurable. His blood washed me clean, white as snow. He’s forgiven me all my sins, past, present and future, and there is no more condemnation for me(or you), it is finished!

I’d been  praying for so long for God to “Break my heart for what broke His” and sang the songs many times, but never had i caught a glimpse of the true cost of His Love, and His free gift of Grace to those who Repent and Believe in Him. I knew He wanted me to share the True Gospel to people listening(and now reading), as it alone is the only Hope. It is the Power of God unto Salvation for anyone that believes.

Still sobbing, i continued…

My every word was a different pitch but i said “My pit was so dark, my accusing thoughts were too heavy, and this led to a daily cycle of waking up and trying to kill myself…failing, which made me feel worse…then drinking so much i could drown them out for the rest of the day, until i woke the next day, then it started again. 

I didn’t have the strength to kill myself, and i didn’t have the strength to live…i was without God, and without Hope!

Nik, who’s hand was rested on my shoulder asked question 4 “I know you were deeply unhappy at the time, what changed that?”

The world followed it’s pattern and sent me to Counselling, then Psychotherapy & finally Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, they didn’t work, they all had no answer for me, they couldn’t reach far enough down to pull me out. I needed a Saviour, I needed the light of the Gospel! 

The Good News & Lovely Sarah

Meeting Sarah changed my life! I have no idea how she’s put up with me. She’s  been so patient and long suffering as i tried attacking her Faith and this Jesus! But she kept on loving me. Sarah always seemed to have a rock she was standing on no matter how bad things got for her, she always had this Blessed Hope that i didn’t,

Jesus worked through Sarah to shine the light of the Gospel, the Good News i was dying for.

Words failed me as i was trying to describe how much i love Sarah, so when my mind filled with thoughts of how far we’ve grown together in love…i broke down again. 

I then wanted to talk a little of what John Wesley describes as “Prevenient grace”, but the sobbing was still making me pause every few words, but mentioned Jesus doesn’t want to see anyone perish, but he pursues you, He loves you and wants to save you, and no matter how bad or hopeless you think you are, He’ll keep coming with His free gift of Salvation!

Nik asked Question 5 “some people would say that your life must be worse now, would you agree with them?”

I’d gone way over my time slot, and i was almost pulled away from the mic as i was so overwhelmed…BUT i knew these tears were not about me, or my losses. I had 1 focus and that was to share the Truth that sets us free. I had no feeling of sorrow or pain. I knew it must have seemed like this to the congregation, and i thought they’d stick me in a counselling room when i’d finished!

The Holy Spirit was filling me like never before, and made the Power of the Gospel so real to me i almost exploded.

I continued “I wouldn’t agree with anyone who thinks(or measures) life by how good our circumstances are. I’d lead them to 2 Corinthians 4 & 5 where it talks about living by Faith, not by Sight, and now that we are born again in the Spirit, we should walk by the Spirit. Not living for things that are seen which are temporary(like my sight loss), but living for the unseen which is Eternal”

“I used to hate this song, but now i’d play it every service if i could…have you heard Amazing Grace, the Chris Tomlin version? If you pass me in the street you’ll normally hear me singing or humming these words:”

“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. My chains are gone I’ve been set free. My God, my Saviour has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns. Unending love, amazing grace”.

Nik then walked me back to my seat next to Sarah. The church was completely silent, it had been silent since i first started sobbing. I could feel Sarah was upset as she didn’t react for a while, then she said “People kept on running up and passing me tissues”. Nik sat down next to Sarah, and Sarah said “You’re not borrowing him again to speak”. 

After the service people came over and said they really connected with the things i said, although i think everyone thinks i’m back in dark depression again.

He showed me the reality and Power of transformation in His Gospel, and how vital it is to share it, as Jesus is the  Way, the Truth and the Life and no-one gets to  the Father but by Him. He’s the forgiver of Sins, breaker of chains, and the only Salvation for Eternal Life in Heaven.

John 3:14-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[a] have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

I felt i needed to share this post to try and explain a little more of what was happening to me, and maybe reach out to someone who is struggling with the creeping death called Depression,or who is just simply lost and without Hope.

Related Posts:

My Testimony

Captivity of Negativity

It Is Grace

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It is grace at the beginning, and grace at the end.  So that when you and I come to lie upon our death beds,  the one thing that should comfort and help and strengthen us there is the thing that helped us in the beginning.  Not what we have been, not what we have done, but the grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.  The Christian life starts with grace, it must continue with grace, it ends with grace.  Grace wondrous grace.  By the grace of God I am what I am.  Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

✞ Music “How Can It Be” by Lauren Daigle

I am guilty
Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one

You plead my cause, you right my wrongs
You break my chains, you overcome
You gave your life to give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be, how can it be?

I’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let you down, inside I doubt
That you still love me
But in your eyes there’s only grace now

You plead my cause, you right my wrongs
You break my chains, you overcome
You gave your life to give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be, how can it be?

Though I fall, you can make me new
From this death I will rise with you
Oh, the grace reaching out for me
How can it be, how can it be?

You plead my cause, you right my wrongs
You break my chains, you overcome
You gave your life to give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be, how can it be?

The Seeds Of Every Evil In His Own Heart

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“Whoever is truly humbled — will not be easily angry, nor harsh or critical of others. He will be compassionate and tender to the infirmities of his fellow-sinners, knowing that if there is a difference — it is grace alone which has made it! He knows that he has the seeds of every evil in his own heart. And under all trials and afflictions — he will look to the hand of the Lord, and lay his mouth in the dust, acknowledging that he suffers much less than his iniquities have deserved.”

John Newton, The Letters of John Newton

✞ Music “This Is Amazing Grace” by Phil Wickham

[Verse 1:]
Who breaks the power of sin and darkness
Whose love is mighty and so much stronger
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder
And leaves us breathless in awe and wonder
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

[Chorus:]
This is amazing grace
This is unfailing love
That You would take my place
That You would bear my cross
You lay down Your life
That I would be set free
Oh, Jesus, I sing for
All that You’ve done for me

[Verse 2:]
Who brings our chaos back into order
Who makes the orphan a son and daughter
The King of Glory, the King of Glory

Who rules the nations with truth and justice
Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance
The King of Glory, the King above all kings

[Chorus]

[Bridge:]
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy is the King who conquered the grave
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Worthy, worthy, worthy.

Christian Community

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“Christian community is like the Christian’s sanctification. It is a gift of God which we cannot claim. Only God knows the real state of our fellowship, of our sanctification. What may appear weak and trifling to us may be great and glorious to God. Just as the Christian should not be constantly feeling his spiritual pulse, so, too, the Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be constantly taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more surely and steadily will fellowship increase and grow from day to day as God pleases.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community

How Do I Love Thee?

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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height 
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight 
    For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. 
    I love thee to the level of everyday’s 
    Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. 
    I love thee freely, as men might strive for Right; 
    I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. 
    I love thee with the passion put to use 
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith. 
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose 
    With my lost saints,–I love thee with the breath, 
    Smiles, tears, of all my life!–and, if God choose, 
    I shall but love thee better after death

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Judging Others Makes Us Blind

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“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Love Each Other

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Lord, some people in my life are difficult to love. I am tempted not even to try to care. But You showed love to me even when I was Your enemy. Please direct me to love in the way that’s acceptable to you, with Your power and grace, Amen.

Healings & Peelings

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Matthew 12:34 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Shortly after lunchtime today, i strolled up our drive to bring in our recycling bins, tub & bag after the weekly emptying. Sarah & i had just finished a lovely lunch where we had my special “Scwipps”. It’s just swede cut really chunky and long like chips! 🙂 It was now time to put out the peelings into the really smelly food waste recycling bin. This bin has a flip up lid which to me looks like a big mouth, but leave it open at your peril. As i knelt down to open the lid for Sarah to quickly put the peelings in, a thought came straight to mind…

“Our mouths can be like this bin sometimes, as soon as it opens a horrendous smell comes out as our words start to stink up the place, instead of being fragranced with grace, and healing to others. They are rotten and foul”. 

A couple of verses were highlighted in my mind too…

Ephesians 4:29 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Colossians 4:6 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

As i told Sarah that i may have an idea for a post, she said “We can’t even put out some peelings without you going off on one! Lol!”.

It can be such a struggle sometimes to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but our words have power! The power to lift up, or to pull down. It’s the difference between a sweet smelling fragrance that blesses and heals the listener. Or the stench of death that drags everyone down and leaves them worse off for being around you.

So which one are you??

🙏 Prayer 

Loving Father. Unless my heart is clean, my words can’t be clean.Cleanse my heart with the purity of your Holy Spirit so my words can become acceptable to you, I stumble in many ways, Lord, especially with my words. Forgive me for any corrupt word that has proceeded out of my mouth and has grieved the Holy Spirit, Amen.

✞ Music “I Am” by Crowder

“I Am”

Verse 1
There’s no space that His love can’t reach
There’s no place that we can’t find peace
There’s no end to Amazing Grace
Take me in with your arms spread wide
Take me in like an orphan child
Never let go, never leave my side.

Chorus: (2X)
I am,
Holding on to You.
I am,
Holding on to You.
In the middle of the storm,
I am Holding on,
I am!

Verse 2
Love like this, Oh my God to find!
I am overwhelmed what a joy divine!
Love like this sets our hearts on fire!

Chorus: (2X)

Verse 3
This is my Resurrection Song
This is my Hallelujah Come
This is why to You I run
This is my Resurrection Song
This is my Hallelujah Come
This is why to You I run
There’s no space that His love can’t reach
There’s no place that we can’t find peace
There’s no end to Amazing Grace

Chorus: (2X)

The Simple Way

A couple of weeks ago, Paul (one of our preachers) asked if i’d like to share a song that’s on my heart before his sermon (which was yesterday). It’s not a full band song, but one where i accompany a single singer, a prayerful and reflective song. My first thoughts were “Oh yeah i’d love to go up to the front and terrify myself while i share some words and try to play a song”. So i said “Yes i’d love too”. He said “Great, the theme is unity”. 

As i went away i said “Wow, thank you Lord” as for nearly 2 months now i’ve been doing a personal daily expositional bible study on Ephesians 4 & 5, which is all about unity. Verses suddenly flooded my mind about unity in the Spirit through the bond of peace, unity in the faith, unity in the body and on and on they came. I started getting excited and thought instead of sharing a song, i’d share all of the things i’d been learning for about 6 hours instead! lol. 🙂

Then the more sobering verses and thoughts came along…

“If we are not growing in the knowledge and understanding of Christ, if Jesus isn’t the head, and if He is not leading the way, then unity is impossible!” Jesus who is The Way, The Truth and The Life, simply said “FOLLOW ME!”. 

✞ Song “The Simple Way” by Sara Sargent

I then went to ask my loving sister in Christ Sara if she would bless us with her beautiful voice while i accompany her on acoustic guitar, and to maybe show me some of the songs she had written but kept quiet. So last week Sara came and showed me “The Simple Way”, wow! 🙂

This is a short section of the song which i recorded on my iPhone as i was learning the guitar chords. The quality isn’t brilliant, but i hope you too are blessed by Sara’s beautiful voice. 

After the service people were saying that we should record it. I’d love to go to the local recording studio and record this song (and maybe a few others) What do you think?

Our Pursuit Of Holiness

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“Too often, we say we are defeated by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated. We are simply disobedient. It might be good if we stop using the terms victory and defeat to describe our progress in holiness. Rather, we should use the terms obedience and disobedience. When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibility. I am saying something outside of me has defeated me. But when I say I am disobedient, that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me. We may in fact be defeated, but the reason we are defeated is because we have chosen to disobey.

We need to brace ourselves up and to realize that we are responsible for thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We need to reckon on the fact that we died to sin’s reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power and has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us. Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness.”

Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness

Knocking The Smell Out Of It

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“It must be the rain knocking the smell out of it”

My lovely wife Sarah

Sarah & were walking home from town in the pouring rain this afternoon, and as we walked past the lovely lavender plant which is on the wall of a nearby house, we were gifted with a beautiful scent of this lovely plant.

Sarah then saidIt must be the rain knocking the smell out of it

After a little chuckle i said “lol, yeah doesn’t that remind you a little of the Christian walk? The Holy Spirit spends our whole lives trying to knock the smell (the amazing fragrance of Grace) of of us!” 🙂

✞ Music “Empty And Beautiful” by Matt Maher

Empty & Beautiful

My past won’t stop haunting me
In this prison there’s a fight between
Who I am and who I used to be

This thorn in my side is a grace
For because of it the flesh and blood of God
Was offered in my place, my place

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

Where did my best friends go?
In my defense they disappeared
Just like Your friends did to You, oh Lord

But You were there, You gave me strength
So this little one might come to know
The glory of Your name, Your name

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

Awaiting, set apart like incense to Your heart
A libation I’m pouring out
Empty and beautiful, beautiful, beautiful

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Savior, You kept the faith in me

Set My Heart On You

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Christ, I praise You for the death of my sinful nature with You on the cross. Shift my focus away from who I once was but am no longer. Set my heart on You, reigning in grace and righteousness with the Father! Amen.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

Interpret the theme humanity.

A photo of my tattoo of a inhuman ripping out of the skin

For this weeks photo challenge, I asked Sarah to take a photo of a tattoo i have on the lower half of my left leg. I had this done aged 21, unsaved yet fully sighted and thought it would add to my seriously bad attitude and reputation as i played football at the local 5 a side arena (where i’m band for life for being too aggressive, fighting etc, but that’s another story).

Little did i know that it was an image of my very own nature that was separating me from God. I had no idea that God would now use this tattoo as a conversation starter for me to share a little of how God saved me, and is now working through me in my new life….

All of humanity has a sin nature. This is a nature that is disobedient to God. At the same time, we do have a free choice to be good or bad. God gave all humans free will. We can choose to be good. We can choose to follow the Holy Spirit. We can choose to accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. He gave us choice. We are not just driven by our instincts or our environment. Neither are we puppets of God. We choose to be either servants of God or servants of sin.

Sin Nature

Humans have a sin nature. A sin nature is basically a nature that is disobedient to God. We were all born with a sin nature that can be traced back through our ancestors all the way back to Adam and Eve. This tendency for us to disobey God, our sin nature, continues today in that it was passed down from our forefathers.

Romans 5:12 advises us how sin has entered into all of mankind.

The Holy Spirit In Us…

Our human nature does not need to end in corruption and death that sin brings to our lives. If we choose to follow the spirit of God, we can have eternal life and not live in sin.

Galatians 6:8advises us that we can choose the Holy Spirit over our flesh.

Sanctification

Our human nature at it’s best is set aside for God. This is where we put God first. This is where we are willing vessels that purify ourselves to be set aside for God’s purpose.

1 John 3:3 and 2 Peter 1:6 advises us that humans can be pure and take on God’s divine nature.

More of my Weekly Photo Challenges

✞ Music “Lift My Life Up” by Unspoken

Lift My Life Up

You brought me this far so why would I question You now
You have provided so why would I start to doubt
I’ve never been stranded, abandoned or left here to fight alone
So I’m giving You control

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I leave it in Your hands
I lift my life, lift my life up

Have Your way in me
Have Your way in me

If peace is a river then let it sweep over me
If I’m under fire I know it’s refining me
When I hear You calling out I follow now wherever the road may go
I know You’re leading me home

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I leave it in Your hands
I lift my life, lift my life up

Have Your way in me
Have Your way in me

Take my life and let it be all for You
Take my life and let it be all for You

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
(Take my life)

I lift my life, lift my life up
I give it all in surrender
(Take my heart)
I lift my heart, lift my heart up
You can have it forever
All my dreams, all my plans
Lord I leave it in Your hands
I lift my life, lift my life up

Have Your way with me
Have Your way with me
Have Your way with me
Have Your way with me

Take my life and let it be all for You

✞ Music “I AM” by Jill Phillips

Oh gently lay your head upon my chest
And I will comfort you like a mother while you rest
And the tide can change so fast, but I will stay
The same through past, the same in future, same today

I am constant and I am near
I am peace that shatters all your secret fears
I am holy, I am wise
I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires
Your heart’s desires

Oh weary, tired and worn, let out your sighs
And drop that heavy load you hold ’cause mine is light
And I know you through and through, there’s no need to hide
I want to show you love that is deep and high and wide

‘Cause I am constant and I am near
I am peace that shatters all your secret fears
I am holy, I am wise
I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires
Your heart’s desires

I am constant, I am near
I am peace that shatters all your secret fears
I am holy, I am wise
I’m the only one who knows your heart’s desires
Your heart’s desires

Oh gently lay your head upon my chest
And I will comfort you like a mother while you resthttp://www.songlyrics.com/jill-phillips/i-am-lyrics/#mzHRFrV4slW5s9cE.99

Faith In The Biblical Sense

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“Faith in the biblical sense is substantive, based on the knowledge that the One in whom that faith is placed has proven that He is worthy of that trust. In its essence, faith is a confidence in the person of Jesus Christ and in His power, so that even when His power does not serve my end, my confidence in Him remains because of who He is.”

Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods

You Really Are Accepted

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“And Grace calls out, ‘You are not just a disillusioned old man who may die soon, a middle-aged woman stuck in a job and desperately wanting to get out, a young person feeling the fire in the belly begin to grow cold. You may be insecure, inadequate, mistaken or potbellied. Death, panic, depression, and disillusionment may be near you. But you are not just that. You are accepted.’ Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted.”

Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out

God’s Grace

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Christ died for the ungodly. Christ died for me. Without his sacrificial death, without God’s grace, I am powerless to save myself or make myself righteous. Jesus did for me what I could not do and paid off my debt to sin which I could not pay. He did it for me; not because I was good enough to be worthy of his death, but because I couldn’t be worthy without him.

You Are Really & Truly & Completely free!

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You are really and truly and completely free. There is no kicker. There is no if, and, or but. You are free. You can do it right or wrong. You can obey or disobey. You can run from Christ or run to Christ. You can choose to become faithful… or unfaithful. You can cry, cuss, and spit, or laugh, sing, and dance… You’re free… really free.

Steve Brown (A Scandalous Freedom)

We Must Receive His Grace

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2 Peter 1:3-4 The Voice

His divine power has given us everything we need to experience life and to reflect God’s true nature through the knowledge of the One who called us by His glory and virtue. Through these things, we have received God’s great and valuable promises, so we might escape the corruption of worldly desires and share in the divine nature.

God took the first step to rescue us from this corrupt world. He has granted us His power, revealed to us true knowledge, and spoken to us great promises. He has done all this for a reason: that we might participate in His own nature and reflect His own life. But we are not passive observers of God’s saving actions. We must receive His grace, grow in knowledge, and join Him in this work of redemption.

Whom Will We Serve?

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Romans 7:1-14 The Voice

Grace is no license to sin. As creatures, we are made to serve our Creator. In the absence of truth, we will serve somebody or something. It’s an essential part of our nature. Our only choice is this: whom will we serve? At one time, we all served sin and grew weak under its deadly power over us. Now, through God’s grace, we have become servants of obedience that sets us right with God, each other, and ourselves. We must daily decide whose servant we are and offer Him our hands, our feet, our hearts, our eyes.

My brothers and sisters who are well versed in the law, don’t you realize that a person is subject to the law only as long as he is alive? 2 So, for example, a wife is obligated by the law to her husband until his death; if the husband dies, she is freed from the parts of the law that relate to her marriage. 3 If she is sleeping with another man while her husband is alive, she is rightly labeled an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from the law and can marry another man. In such a case, she is not an adulteress.

4 My brothers and sisters, in the same way, you have died when it comes to the law because of your connection with the body of the Anointed One. His death—and your death with Him—frees you to belong to the One who was raised from the dead so we can bear fruit for God. 5 As we were living in the flesh, the law could not solve the problem of sin; it only awakened our lust for more and cultivated the fruit of death in our bodily members. 6 But now that we have died to those chains that imprisoned us, we have been released from the law to serve in a new Spirit-empowered life, not the old written code.

7 So what is the story? Is the law itself sin? Absolutely not! It is the exact opposite. I would never have known what sin is if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known that desiring something that belongs to my neighbor is sin if the law had not said, “You are not to covet.” 8 Sin took advantage of the commandment to create a constant stream of greed and desire within me; I began to want everything. You see, apart from the law, sin lies dormant. 9 There was a time when I was living without the law, but the commandment came and changed everything: sin came to life, and I died. 10 This commandment was supposed to bring life; but in my experience, it brought death. 11 Sin took advantage of the commandment, tricked me, and exploited it in order to kill me. 12 So hear me out: the law is holy; and its commandments are holy, right, and good.

13 So did the good law bring about my death? Absolutely not! It was sin that killed me, not the law. It’s the nature of sin to produce death through what is good and exploit the commandments to multiply sin’s vile effects. 14 This is what we know: the law comes from the spiritual realm. My problem is that I am of the fallen human realm, owned by sin, which tries to keep me in its service.

✞ Promise: Rejoice and Exult

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Romans 5:2 Amplified Bible

Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.

Gratitude Unlocks The Fullness Of Life

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Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Melody Beattie

✞ Music “My Life Is An Offering by Sovereign Grace Music

“My Life Is An Offering”
[Based on Romans 12:1-2]

VERSE 1
This life is an altar
Where I want to offer
My soul, and my mind, and strength
Cleansed by Your mercy to live a life worthy
Of the One Who called my name

CHORUS
Jesus, be glorified
Jesus, be magnified
Let me be a pleasing sacrifice
Jesus, be glorified
Jesus, be magnified
Here on the altar
My life is an offering

VERSE 2
How could I not love You?
You authored my rescue
Raised me up from death to life
Your Spirit is in me, revealing Your glory
Oh what joy as I give my life

BRIDGE
I choose to lose my life, Lord
And find it in You

From Death To Life

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Ephesians 2:1-10 Easy-to-Read Version

From Death to Life

In the past you were spiritually dead because of your sins and the things you did against God. Yes, in the past your lives were full of those sins. You lived the way the world lives, following the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God. In the past all of us lived like that, trying to please our sinful selves. We did all the things our bodies and minds wanted. Like everyone else in the world, we deserved to suffer God’s anger just because of the way we were.

But God is rich in mercy, and he loved us very much. We were spiritually dead because of all we had done against him. But he gave us new life together with Christ. (You have been saved by God’s grace.) Yes, it is because we are a part of Christ Jesus that God raised us from death and seated us together with him in the heavenly places. God did this so that his kindness to us who belong to Christ Jesus would clearly show for all time to come the amazing richness of his grace.

I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. You are not saved by the things you have done, so there is nothing to boast about. God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do.

✞ Music “Love Came Down” by Brian Johnson

“Love Came Down”

If my heart is overwhelmed and I cannot hear Your voice
I’ll hold on to what is true though I cannot see
If the storms of life they come and the road ahead gets steep
I will lift these hands in faith
I will believe

I remind myself of all that You’ve done
And the life I have because Your Son

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours I am forever Yours
Mountain high or valley low
I sing out remind my soul
That I am Yours I am forever Yours

When my heart is filled with hope
and every promise comes my way
When I feel Your hands of grace rest upon me

Staying desperate for You God
Staying humbled at Your feet
I will lift these hands and praise
I will believe

I remind myself of all that You’ve done
And the life I have because Your Son

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours I am forever Yours
Mountain high or valley low
I sing out remind my soul
That I am Yours I am forever Yours

I am Yours
I am Yours
All my days
I am Yours

I am Yours, I’m Yours forever
I am Yours, I’m Yours forever
I am Yours, I’m Yours forever Lord

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am Yours I am forever Yours
Mountain high or valley low
I sing out remind my soul
That I am Yours I am forever Yours

✞ Music “Forgive Me” by John Waller

“Forgive Me”

I’ve been raised in the perfect surroundings
Go to church once a week sometimes two
Lord I wanna be what You want me to be
Often sin represents all I do

Forgive me
Once again cleanse me
Forgive me
Once again cover me
I don’t even know why Your mercy never dies
But I’m glad

Your Spirit always seems to grab me
Just before I go over the edge
What I can’t understand is why you’re even here
When I’ve trashed my oath and my pledge

Forgive me
Once again cleanse me
Forgive me
Once again cover me
I don’t even know why Your mercy never dies
But I’m glad
Jesus I’m glad

Paul's Redemption

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Real Christianity

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

Voyages Of Mine

Travels, photography and travel tips from Knoxville, TN to cities across the US (and Canada!)

This, that and the other thing

Looking at life through writing and photography

Cee's Photography

Learning and teaching the art of composition.

A DEVOTED LIFE

Practical Daily Devotions for the Real World

Travelling with Lyn

My experiences in Italy and the world

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Life: the time God gives you to determine how you spend eternity

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