Monday, April 25, 2011

Forever, I am changed by Your love

Happy Easter weekend everyone! As we celebrated with family and friends, its hard to remember the reason we are celebrating. I pray that that we as Christians realize the sacrifice that Christ endured for us. Yesterday at church I was brought to tears during worship. For a medley of songs, there was a lady named Joy who paints in our church. She painted a whole picture while we sang, this is her talent! She is such a great painter. As we got done singing the painting was lifted up slowly on a pole the has curtains. It was SO cool to see that it was Christ's feet nailed to the cross and then there was a girl, Mary Magdalene bowing on her knees with light around her. The picture was breathtaking. It really showed how we have to give everything to the Lord because He is in complete control. She was at the feet of the cross and was bearing all of herself to Jesus. What a picture.

Here is a little about her:

New Testament references to a woman named Mary are few, although collectively they comprise the largest reference to a single female, if indeed there is only one Mary. However, scholars have divided these references into three groups: Mary the repentant sinner, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene.

In Luke 7:37 a woman appears at the home of Simon the Pharisee in Galilee where Jesus is dining; she washes his feet with her tears, dries them with her hair, and anoints them with oils she carries in an alabaster box. This unnamed woman is a sinner, a city-bred woman who is likely a prostitute. Jesus forgives her sins, telling her "Thy faith has saved thee; go in peace." In John 12:3 this woman is identified as Mary and the ointment described as "spikenard, very costly."

Thank you for the cross, Lord. Thank you for Your nail scared hands. Bearing all my sin ans shame, in love You came, and gave amazing grace.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do they see Jesus in me?

this is such an awesome song by Joy Williams, so true.

Is the face that I see in the mirror
the one I want others to see
Do I show in the way that I walk in my life
The love that You've given to me
My heart's desire is to be like You
In all that I do, all I am

Do they see Jesus In Me
Do they recognize Your face
Do I communicate Your love, and Your grace
Do I reflect who You are
In the way I choose to be
Do they see Jesus In Me

It's amazing that you'd ever use me
But use me the way You will
Help me to hold out a heart of
compassionate grace
A heart that You're spirit fills
May I show forgiveness and mercy
The same way You've shown it to me

Now I want to show all the world who You are
The reason I live and breathe
So You'll be the One that they see
When they see me

Monday, April 18, 2011

Identity in Christ

Here is another awesome email I received from Lauren Bush, I wanted to share! :)

When most of us stop long enough to consider what establishes our identity, what really makes us who we are, many of us act as if the answer to this consideration is “our performance.” In Who Will Deliver Us, Paul Zahl expands on this:

If I can do enough of the right things, I will have established my worth. Identity is the sum of my achievements. Hence, if I can satisfy the boss, meet the needs of my spouse and children, and still do justice to my inner aspirations, then I will have proven my worth. There are infinite ways to prove our worth along these lines. The basic equation is this: I am what I do. It is a religious position in life because it tries to answer in practical terms the question, Who am I and what is my niche in the universe? On this reading, my niche is in proportion to my deeds. In Christian theology, such a position is called justification by works. It assumes that my worth is measured by my performance. Conversely, it conceals, thinly, a dark and ghastly fear: If I do not perform, I will be judged unworthy. To myself I will cease to exist.

The gospel frees us from this obsessive pressure to perform, this slavish demand to “become.” The gospel liberatingly declares that in Christ “we already are.” While the world constantly tempts us to locate our identity in something or someone smaller than Jesus, the gospel liberates us by revealing that our true identity is locked in Christ. Our connection in and with Christ is the truest definition of who we are. If you’re a Christian, here’s the good news: Who you really are has nothing to do with you—how much you can accomplish, who you can become, your behavior (good or bad), your strengths, your weaknesses, your sordid past, your family background, your education, your looks, and so on.
Your identity is firmly anchored in Christ’s accomplishment, not yours; his strength, not yours; his performance, not yours; his victory, not yours. Your identity is steadfastly established in his substitution, not your sin. As my friend Justin Buzzard recently wrote, “The gospel doesn’t just free you from what other people think about you, it frees you from what you think about yourself.”

You’re free!

Now you can spend your life giving up your place for others instead of guarding it from others—because your identity is in Christ, not your place.
Now you can spend your life going to the back instead of getting to the front—because your identity is in Christ, not your position.

Now you can spend your life giving, not taking—because your identity is in Christ, not your possessions.

Paul speaks of our “having been buried with him [with Christ] in baptism,” in which we “were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead” (2:12). Our old identity—the things that previously “made us”—has been put to death. Our new identity is “in Christ.” We’ve been raised with Christ to walk “in newness of life”—no longer needing to depend on the “old things” to make us who we are.
All this is our new identity—all because of Christ’s finished work declared to us in the gospel.

When we truly see and understand all these aspects of what we’ve become in Jesus Christ, what more could we possibly ever want or need when it comes to our self-identity? Here in Christ we have worth and purpose and security and significance that makes utterly laughable all the transient things of this world that we’re so frequently tempted to identify ourselves by.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Mercy and Grace

I am OBSESSED with this song :) "I want to leave a legacy , How will they remember me? Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough to make a mark on things? I want to leave an offering, a child of mercy and grace who blessed your name unapologetically and leave that kind of legacy" Nicole Nordeman

My devotional for the day was so good today I wanted to share it:

Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and yet was tempted. The strongest force of temptation often comes upon a person when he or she is closest to God. Someone once asked, "The Devil aims high." In fact, he caused one disciple to say he did noe even know Christ.

Why is it that very few people have had as great a conflict with the Devil as Martin Luther had? It is because Martin Luther was shaking the very kingdom of hell itself.

When a person has the fullness of the Spirit of God, he will experience great conflicts with the Devil. god allows temptation because it does for us what storms do for oak trees, rooting us deeper, and it does for us what heat does for paint on porcelain, giving us long-lasting endurance.

You will never fully realize the level of strength of your grasp on Christ, or His grasp on you, until the Devil uses all his forces to attract you to himself. It is then you will feel the tug of Christ's right hand.

Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins but are sometimes are trials resulting from God's extraordinary gifts. God uses many sharp-cutting instruments, and polishes His jewels with flies that are rough. And those saints He loves and desires to make shine the most brilliantly, will often feel His tools upon them.

I willingly bear witness to the fact that I owe most to my Lord's fire, hammer, and file than to anything else in His workshop. Sometimes I wonder if I have ever learned anything except at the end of God's rod. When my classroom is darkest, I see best. -Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bringing our fears to Jesus

My mentor, Lauren Bush, sent this to me! She is so wonderful and keeps me encouraged everyday by sending me emails like this one! This is so amazing!

A Prayer for Bringing Our Fears to Jesus

He placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Revelation 1:17-18

Gracious Jesus, it’s profoundly encouraging to know the most repeated command in the Bible is “Do not be afraid”. The angels spoke these calming words to terrified shepherds on the night of your birth. You repeated the same command to a devastated Mary on the morning of your resurrection. And, right now, you speak these same liberating words to us, your beloved Bride, “Do not be afraid!”

Jesus, because you are the First and the Last, we don’t have to be afraid of anything in between. You’ll never say “Oops” about anything in world history or in our lives. There’s no such thing as trial and error with you. You never scratch your head in bewilderment or confusion. You are perfectly executing your sovereign will, from naming the stars to numbering our hairs. You are good, all the time…all the time, you are good, Lord Jesus.

Because you are the Living One, once dead but now alive forever, we don’t have to fear judgment Day or this day. For your death was our judgment Day and your resurrection is our assurance of being fully acceptable to God in this very moment. Not only is there no condemnation hanging over us, there is full delight towards us. Hallelujah, we cry, three times over!

Jesus, because you hold the keys of death and Hades, we don’t have to be fear the fact or means of our death. For you have robbed the grave of its victory; you have removed the sting of death; and you have defeated the devil and all the powers of darkness. You don’t just hold keys, you will hold us in the most threatening and final moment of our lives. We believe, help our unbelief.

On a way more practical and daily level, Jesus, because of your great love for us, we don’t have to be afraid of what people think about us. We don’t have to be afraid of failing or looking silly. We don’t have to be afraid of getting old or losing our memories. We don’t have to fear being left out or left alone. We don’t have to fear, fear. What a mighty and merciful Savior you are, Jesus.

The very hand you placed on John’s shoulder is the hand in which we now live—firmly and tenderly in the grasp of your grace. Jesus, please free us more fully from our fears and that we might live more fully to the praise of your glory. So very Amen, we pray, in your loving and powerful name.