I then heard my name. I thought I was imagining. There it was again in a gentle voice, quieter than the storm but more powerful. He said, "Don't be afraid. I 'm right beside you, I will walk with you." So I took His strong hand and felt His embrace. The storm raged on but now we walked through the storm safely together, for He was right beside me.
The journey of life is hard, filled with bumps in the road, raging storms and more. I can look up at the sky, cry and feel abandoned by God, or I can stop, listen and see that you are standing right beside me, desiring to walk through this with me.
You say, "Look into my eyes and follow me. You are precious in my sight. You are mine. I gather my people close to my heart, won't you come?"
Whatever the journey He has promised to walk with us through it. That is the guarantee. We all have different journeys but there are two things all journeys can have in common:
1. We can walk these journeys with Him by our side
2. Our final destination is the same: being reunited again in His heart.
Based on Isaiah 43: 1-7.
Outfit 1: Isaiah 61:3
A garment of praise, instead of a spirit of despair.
Outfit 2: Isaiah 61:10
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Outfit 3: I Peter 5:5
Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
Outfit 4: Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Outfit 5: Galatians 3:26
Cloth(ed) yourselves with Christ.
Outfit 6: Luke 24:49
Cloth(ed) with power from on high.
Outfit 7: Isaiah 52:1
Clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor.
Outfit 8: Psalm 30:11
You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
Outfit 9: Ephesians 6:14-17
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Outfit 10: Ephesians 4:22-25
Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor.
Outfit 11: Colossians 3:14
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
We all face different events everyday and God knows it. He has provided everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). My challenge to you is to print out the list of these 11 outfits and hang the list on your closet door. For the next week, when you get dressed choose which "Spiritual outfit" that you will get dressed in as you dress in your physical clothes. Let us see what a difference it can make when we intentionally dress in the clothes provided by Our Father.
Well, I love God and He tends to get through to my thick brain, more often than not lately (thank you). During my Breaking Free study Thursday night, we were studying the kings of Israel and some of these kings did some pretty horrific things, including sacrificing their children on altars. One of the women in my group made a comment, "Well that was pretty common in those times, it wasn't an unusual practice." She kind of sluffed it off as no big deal. But it bothered me. "What do you mean, it wasn't a big deal?"
Three days later, ding, dong I finally answered the door!
Back in Abraham's time, guess what the other "gods" were asking of their followers? They were asking for child sacrifice. Unfortunately, in that culture and time that is exactly what was common, culturally accepted practice. Abraham was before there was a Bible, and God had called Him to leave His people and go to a new land. Abraham may have been the only person on earth at that time God was intentionally revealing Himself too. And do you know what God did? He asked Abraham to do exactly what the other "gods" were asking, "to sacrifice your child to prove your love to me." However, when Abraham got to that point, God stepped in and He DIFFERENTIATED Himself from ALL other gods!
For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
He stepped in and He showed Himself as Jehovah Jireh, a Provider. Unlike the other gods, He does not require His people to murder their children, to satisfy Him. He is not like all other gods, He is above ALL gods and in fact He will provide the way to prove His love for us. This was the missing link for me, the step that I needed to have to understand and appreciate this whole story. Before, I thought Sarah would have had a grudge against Abraham her whole life, but now I think when Abraham got home, Sarah was very excited and she did want to know more about this God who was different than all other gods and would provide a better way than the sacrifice of their child.
And God continues to differentiate Himself from all other gods. He is the only God, who loves us so much that He would give up everything, suffer, die and rise again with joy to have us as His inheritance.
Do you know who He is? Do you know who you are in Him?
Last night we flipped back and forth between Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 61 to see what Jesus gave up so that we could have freedom! It was incredible. I've been a Christian for 23 years, went to a Christian school and had Bible class everyday, have rarely missed a church service and yet I had never seen these two passages discussed next to each other. I've heard of and read Isaiah 53, in fact Beth said that is the section of Scripture most quoted in the New Testament. I of course, love Isaiah 61. I think it is an incredible set of verses. But seeing the two next to each other, flipped another switch on in my heart.
At first, it was a little annoying flipping back and forth between Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 61, Isaiah 53, Isaiah 61, Isaiah 53, Isaiah 61... you get the point. But then excitement began to arise as I understood what was taking place and then I couldn't wait to see what took place between Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 61!
Below, I will give you the benefit of seeing what glorious things Jesus did, what He gave up so that you could have FREEDOM! So if you have a minute please print out these verses and do the flipping yourself, you will be amazed:
From Breaking Free by Beth Moore pg. 29
1.Isaiah 53:2; Isaiah 61:3 Christ was like a root out of dry ground so we could be a planting of the Lord.
2.Isaiah 53:2; Isaiah 61:3 Christ's beauty was veiled so ours could be revealed.
3.Isaiah 53:3; Isaiah 61:1-2 Christ was despised and rejected so we could be favored and accepted.
4.Isaiah 53:3; Isaiah 61:3 Christ became a man of sorrows so we could become a people of gladness.
5.Isaiah 53:7; Isaiah 61:1 Christ was imprisoned and oppressed so we could be released from prison.
6.Isaiah 53:5; Isaiah 61:3; 2 Cor 5:21 Christ was crushed by our iniquities so we could become His righteousness.
7.Christ remained silent so we could proclaim his great salvation (Isaiah 53:11; Isaiah 61:1-2)
Beloved, I pray this hits your heart like it hit mine. We all know what Jesus did on the cross. We know that we are saved by grace. But He also did so much more! Do you see the many things He intentionally chose to suffer in order that you could have specific areas of freedom here on earth? He paid an incredible price for our freedom. He is offering you so much more than a mundane life of “being a good Christian.” He is offering you beauty, favor, joy, gladness, freedom from the chains, His righteousness and the opportunity to proclaim who He is and what He has done to others!
He alone is worthy to have full access to your heart today. Give it to Him and see what He will do!
Well, just like my new Starbucks' addiction I'm also becoming addicted to Ephesians 4:2. I've already talked about this particular verse two times, but here is for the third time:
I was reading my He Loves Me book this morning and the chapter was on being motivated by fear. The chapter helped me to bring clarity to the journey that I have been on during the last 5 years.
My last book giveaway was for the book Waking the Dead. At the time of the giveaway my mom asked me why Waking the Dead had been so instrumental in my life. That day, I had said it opened my eyes to the love God had for me. After my reading this morning I would like to embellish on my answer: I think Waking the Dead opened my eyes to the difference of being motivated by fear versus being motivated by love.
I've been a Christian for as long as I can remember, in fact I don't even remember asking the Lord into my heart. The only event I do remember was being baptized 24 years ago TODAY (9/7/85)! I went to a Christian school, church all my life... I've lived a very blessed Christian life and I know it. One of the things though that "happened" in my Christianity is that I learned how to be good out of fear. I didn't want to "lose" the love God had for me. I knew God's Word was true. It is very easy to see that people who don't follow God's laws end up with negative consequences. I knew that if I obeyed God and His Word, things would go well for me and my life. And that is exactly what happened. But in another sense, I felt empty in many ways.
I remember sitting and listening to sermons. I would get convicted every Sunday of how far I fell short of whatever the topic was. When they asked you to stand at the end for prayer, or raise your hand, my hand was up every week. I fell way short and I knew it. I would pray the salvation prayer too, because I didn't remember when I had done it the first time and so I thought I should pray it again to make sure I was saved (in case God wasn't sure).
I remember listening to the songs, "I could dance 100 miles because of your great love" and I'd actually not sing that part, because I didn't understand it and I didn't believe it. I also remember singing, "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere" and I would think, I could think of a thousand places I would rather be than sitting in church all day worshipping God. So yes, I think in a sense, I understood that God "loved" me and I was going to heaven because of His love but what I understood better was the burden of the perfection I thought it took to remain one of His children.
The journey or path God began to take me on 5 years ago began for me with Waking the Dead. During that season I began to learn about God's love for me as His daughter. In all my years of reading about the Pharisees I began to see that I had become a Pharisee. The exact thing Jesus wanted to break, "trying to obey the law perfectly to earn God's favor" is what I had begun to do. I thought I was pretty good at it, but it was heavy and burdensome. Somehow, somewhere along the line I've begun to understand the incredible love that God has for me as His daughter.
Last Sunday at church we sang, "I could dance 100 miles because of your great love" and yes, now I am one of those crazy people who can sing that song with my whole heart because I have a heart understanding of that great love and if I could choose one place I would rather be, it would in the courts of my Father.
The purpose of my blog truly is my heart's desire: FREEDOM IN CHRIST. I have tasted the freedom of Christ the last 5 years and I know how different it is from living under the burden of fear of failure and the desire to earn God's love and always falling short. But I now have also experienced the freedom of being a beloved daughter of the King. I choose the second experience and I desire all of His children to experience the depth of love that He has for them. It is beautiful thing.
PS If you have a blog please stop by PlayroomofHope.com and pick up their button for your website! This will be a great way for you to let your reader's know about this cause (here's the link to my post about it: http://forhisglory-alone.blogspot.com/2009/08/playroom-of-hope.html). Another way you can help this cause is through isearchigive. This is a search engine method that allows money to be donated to Playroom of Hope just by using their toolbar to do searches on the internet. This is a free way for you but it ends up donating real $ to the cause. Thank you again for supporting our family during this time and in these ways.
Today I had one of those days of doubt in my mind. The past three years I've really stepped out in the place of prayer. One of my friends told me that I would experience more downs than up in this area but to keep praying and believing. She ended up being right. When I started on the journey I had a lot of ups, that got me pumped. Then the downs kept coming and perseverance was needed and I have persevered but some days it has been just plain old hard. Today was hard, I don't know why, it just was. I didn't share it with anyone, but God. My questions today were general and specific and I just asked Him (didn't hear anything back) and then I walked through my day.
8:30 pm my phone rang. "Hey Jaime, I just wanted to let you know I appreciate all you do with prayer. You've carried a lot these last few years, and I just want you to know I love your heart and all you do. Prayer matters." I just laughed and said, "Did God send you an e-mail today?" "No, God just placed you on my heart, so I thought I would call." This person addressed every single question specific and general that I had asked God today and they didn't even know I had the questions.
He's rescued me once again. I am so thankful that He knows my heart and He cares enough to step in and address my heart. I feel tangible loved by my Father today.
I can't end without bringing a lesson in, that's just the way I am. As I said in yesterday's post we are all needed in the body of Christ. Listen to the Head, like my friend did today, and He will use you to bless other people's lives and in the process strengthen the body of Christ.
Always be humble, gentle, and patient accepting one another in love!
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
"When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men."
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves,
If there was one thing I would hope you would take from this section of verses it is that:
You are important and you have a role in the body of Christ.
Christ is the HEAD of the body of Christ, I think it is extremely important to notice is the head, not the whole body. As I have emphasized before is that God has invited us into relationship with Him and with others. He is the head, the one we all should be looking at to receive our directions from, but we the church make up the body. A head does not exist without a body. The body does not function without listening to the head and cooperating with all the other parts of the body. What is the connecting power between us all is: LOVE.
One of the weakness of many women is the fault of comparing ourselves to others. We often find ourselves comparing our looks, our hair, our weight, our gifts and talents. We just need to plain old stop it. Our gifts have been apportioned to us by His grace and we each have different gifts and functions. If we spend all of our time looking at how we don't measure up (because we never measure up, do we) we will miss out on two things:
- Being blessed by the gifts that others are offering to us. For some reason we feel insecure in receiving and we think that if we accept gifts we will be showing our weaknesses to others. If you understand that others have gifts from Christ to offer to you, it might make it easier for you to receive from them.
- Blessing others with your gifts. Since you "never measure up" you don't think you have anything to offer to others. That again is a lie that you need to combat. You do have things to offer to others and we need you to offer your gifts and talents to us.
By working together in love we are strengthening the body of Christ. It says we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by every whim. Know who you are in Christ and be who you are in Christ. It benefits the whole body!