All That I Need

Standard

Jesus, you know what’s inside of my heart,
When I am coming apart at the seams.
But that’s when my true colors come shining through,
I know that You are the One for me.

A song by Dan Marks, “All That I Need”

Oh, how I wish I had always known this in my innermost being!

I do get glimpses of it, knowing He has been, and will always be, the One who never leaves.

He is the One who will always love.
He accepts me. All of me.
Even the ugliest parts…He has them covered.

He forgives fully and without exception.
I am free with Him.
In Him, I can be me.
(He created me…He likes me!)

My struggle, and possibly yours, is my flesh wanting more.

Why do I keep running to the world?

Why, when deep inside of me I KNOW, He is all I need, do I still look for more…?

Another verse:
When the dark clouds come and bring down the rain,
I know that You will sustain me, Lord.

I surely haven’t always lived that truth.
I have had moments, even years, of living it:

I did get through the miscarriage with His sustaining power.
I did feel His strong hand supporting me through the trials of raising three children.
I was empowered through His strength when illness and homeschooling converged.

I guess that’s why I’m so befuddled with the whys of my most recent years…
…the last five, to be exact.

Why, when I knew Him in victory, did I not hold on to Him in tragedy?

Loneliness, revictimization, fatigue … these are all explanations of what happened within my self … Years of fighting with demons, stuffing the pain, and questioning my illness led to a yearning for relief, a way out of the despair.

That’s when I let go and I let my flesh reign.

I still grieve about it. And, I imagine I always will. He forgets all our sins, but He didn’t give us that ability. When we forget, much of the time it’s an act of denial because we do not want to see the truth of our actions.

Honestly, I don’t want to forget.
I’m okay with the grief.
I’m even okay with the recognition that I did not make a mistake.

I sinned against my husband, my children, and my family.
I sinned against a holy God who gave me the best gifts in life.

I spit in the face of His blessings.

The knowledge of that choice brings me to my knees again and again and again…
Not in self-loathing, or thinking I must continue to ask for forgiveness;
I know He has forgiven me.

I fall on my knees in overwhelming thanksgiving to a great God who loves unconditionally!

So, you see,
I don’t want to forget.
I don’t want to deny what I am capable of doing.

I want to remember the lesson for the remainder of my time on this earth.
And when I get to heaven, then He will wipe away all my tears…

Oh God, help me to remember what I’ve learned.

Your love is all that I need,
All that I need, all that I need.
Your love is all that I need…
All that I need is You.

Is It Warfare?

Standard

We must learn to live in the tension between the real and the ideal.
It is in the tension that the beauty of salvation is seen.

~a paraphrase from Andy Stanley

When he said that yesterday, I felt more grace flood my soul than I have felt in a very long while. For someone to recognize the tension between the real and ideal, and then allow for a “less than perfect” reality … Well, I haven’t heard that kind of grace spoken much recently.

Another gracious word from a discussion over the weekend:

Satan calls you by your sin.
God calls you by your name.

And that’s when I remembered, this is warfare.

The names I’ve been called reveal the disappointment others feel toward me.
And the names I’ve called myself reveal my own disgust.

It feels like a flesh and blood battle when flesh and blood people are speaking the words.  But, I must remember that we do not war against flesh and blood.  Satan can speak through people, without them even realizing they are being used.  Remember Peter?  One moment he’s declaring Jesus is the Christ and the next, Jesus tells him to “get behind me, Satan!”

It wasn’t that Peter turned into Jesus’ enemy, it’s that he didn’t understand the Father’s plan for Jesus’ life. And in his misunderstanding he spoke.

We do this all the time when we assume we know what God is doing in someone’s life.  We imagine we can see where they need to be headed, and yet, only God knows the plans He has for each of us.  He is the One working out our salvation for His good will.  He is the One empowering us to do the “good works” He has planned for us to accomplish from the foundation of the earth.  He is the One who sees all the intricate details of each of our lives and is directing our paths as He sees fit.

Remember, Beloved, when others speak untruths concerning you, when you are “labelled” as they see fit, know that is not My name for you.  I call you Beloved.  I call you Redeemed.  I call you My Child.  Stand firm in the armor I’ve given you.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil,

so that after the battle you will still be standing firm.
Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness
For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News,
so that you will be fully prepared.
In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.
Put on salvation as your helmet,
and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.
~Ephesians 6:12-18

The Suffering Servant

Standard

He became sin for us…so that we might become the righteousness of God.

“The gospel tells us that the Creator has become our Redeemer.  It announces that the Son of God has become man “for us men and for our salvation” and has died on the cross to save us from eternal judgment.  The basic description of the saving death of Christ in the Bible is as a propitiation, that is, as that which quenched God’s wrath against us by obliterating our sins from his sight.  God’s wrath is his righteousness reacting against unrighteousness; it shows itself in retributive justice.  But Jesus Christ has shielded us from the nightmare prospect of retributive justice by becoming our representative substitute, in obedience to his Father’s will, and receiving the wages of our sin in our place.

By this means justice has been done, for the sins of all that will ever be pardoned were judged and punished in the person of God the Son, and it is on this basis that pardon is now offered to us offenders.  Redeeming love and retributive justice joined hands, so to speak, at Calvary, for there God showed himself to be “just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus.”

Do you understand this?  If you do, you are now seeing to the very heart of the Christian gospel…”  ~J.I. Packer, Knowing God

 

The Prophecy concerning Jesus as found in Isaiah 52-53:

“Look, my servant will succeed!
He will be elevated, lifted high, and greatly exalted
(just as many were horrified by the sight of you)
he was so disfigured he no longer looked like a man;

His form was so marred he no longer looked human
so now he will startle many nations.
Kings will be shocked by his exaltation,
for they will witness something unannounced to them,
and they will understand something they had not heard about.

Who would have believed what we just heard?
When was the Lord’s power revealed through him?

He sprouted up like a twig before God,
like a root out of parched soil;
he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention,
no special appearance that we should want to follow him.

He was despised and rejected by people,
one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness;
people hid their faces from him;
he was despised, and we considered him insignificant.

But he lifted up our illnesses,
he carried our pain;
even though we thought he was being punished,
attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done.

He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds,
crushed because of our sins;
he endured punishment that made us well;
because of his wounds we have been healed.

All of us had wandered off like sheep;
each of us had strayed off on his own path,
but the Lord caused the sin of all of us to attack him.

He was treated harshly and afflicted,
but he did not even open his mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block,
like a sheep silent before her shearers,
he did not even open his mouth.

He was led away after an unjust trial
but who even cared?
Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living;
because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded.

They intended to bury him with criminals,
but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb,
because he had committed no violent deeds,
nor had he spoken deceitfully.

Though the Lord desired to crush him and make him ill,
once restitution is made,
he will see descendants and enjoy long life,
and the Lord’s purpose will be accomplished through him.
Having suffered, he will reflect on his work,
he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done.

“My servant will acquit many,
for he carried their sins.
So I will assign him a portion with the multitudes,
he will divide the spoils of victory with the powerful,
because he willingly submitted to death
and was numbered with the rebels,
when he lifted up the sin of many
and intervened on behalf of the rebels.”


.

…just as many were horrified by the sight of you…

He was so disfigured He no longer looked like a man;
His form was so marred He no longer looked human
so now He will startle many nations.

 

The revelation of His Story might be right around the corner –
The Suffering Servant will come to earth as The Exalted King!

Will you be found in Christ, alone?

.

.

.

My sin — oh the bliss of this glorious thought –
My sin — not in part but the whole –
Was nailed to the cross and I bear it no more!

Praise the Lord!
Praise the LORD,
Oh, my soul!!!

The Hurt Runs Deep

Standard

A note to the reader: For any who hurt due to abuse, it’s okay to stand up and speak out.  It’s the hardest thing to do, but it will allow the healing to begin. Also, “you” is meant to be universal…I have had too many abusers in my life to name just one.

I am not your punching bag anymore.
I will not stand by and take whatever abuse you choose to dish out.
I will not remain in your presence, because your words are a lie straight from hell.

God says I am His.
God tells me I am beloved.

You tell me I am not worthy…not beautiful…not real.

I know I’m real.
I know what I feel and I know why I feel as I do.

I became a non-entity to you.
I filled up whatever need you may have had for a time…
And when I realized I couldn’t keep it up, I would never be enough…
I curled up into my shell.

And you left.

I was the butt of your jokes.
I was the blame behind your anger.
I was the target of your rage.

No.  more.

I learned I was an object at two years old.
Now, at fifty-two, I’ve decided to become a person.
I will be seen…by those who choose to cherish and not condemn.

I believe it’s time to realize I am worthy…
Because He is worthy.
He sacrificed Himself for me;
HE calls me His own.

Your names for me are a lie.
I choose to hear the Truth:
God loves me.

By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell…With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women He made in His image…Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
~verses from James 3

When the hurt runs deep…
He is deeper still.

(I must say I’m having a very difficult time leaving this post up…yet, somehow I feel I must. After so many years of not believing I was worthy to speak up, taking this first step toward doing so feels so foreign…so vulnerable…I want to run. But, I know I can’t. I know I must get the words said for no other reason than having it written to look back upon, and know there was one day…a moment in time…I did feel I could speak the truth. I only hope I can survive the honesty…)

Saving Grace

Standard

Grace, grace … God’s grace …

Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.

Grace, grace … God’s grace …

Grace that is greater than all our sin!

 

For the Law was given through Moses;
Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
John 1:17

 

For by grace you have been saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

 

And if it is by grace, it is no longer by works,
Otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
Romans 11:6

Amazing grace!  How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.

I once was lost, but now I am found!  I was blind, but now I see!

 

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Galatians 6:14

The Name of the LORD

Standard

Does a name matter?  When I’m called something other than Michelle, I do not respond.  It is not my identity.  Names are given for the unique individual created…for the personality of the one being named.

Sometimes we do a lousy job of naming our children.  We don’t even give a thought to whom they may be, but to what sounds good to our ears.  Biblical names were not chosen by what would tickle the ear.  Biblical names were given to express the characteristics of the one named.

God revealed Himself through His Name.

The God of the Bible is…

Elohim  —  Our Creator Who said, “Let US make man in OUR image”

El Elyon  —  God Most High

El Shaddai  —  God All-Sufficient

El Roi  —  The God Who Sees

Adonai  —  Lord and Master

Jehovah  —   LORD

Jehovah-Jireh  — The LORD our Provider

Jehovah-Shalom  —  The LORD our Peace

Jehovah-Tsidkenu  —  The LORD our Righteousness

Jehovah-Mekkodishkem  —  The LORD our Sanctification

Jehovah-Rapha  — The LORD our Healer

Oh, so many names — more than I’ve listed — reveal the character and  attributes of our eternal, infinite, transcendent, and HOLY God.

Our God, the God of the Jewish people and the God of the Christian, IS the same God.

That truth offends so many people of both faiths.  But, when we see what scripture teaches, the OLD and NEW Testaments of God, we see Jesus is the Son of the Father, who is in Heaven.  The Great Shepherd who leads His flock to still waters is the Good Shepherd who searches for His lost sheep.  The Rock upon which we stand is the Stone of Stumbling which causes offense.  Our righteousness and our sanctification is found in the Name of the LORD.

The scripture teaches us:

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.
~Proverbs 18:10

For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.
~Psalms 31:3

My God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge,
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
My stronghold and my refuge;
My Savior,
You save me from violence.
~2 Samuel 22:3

For You have been a refuge for me,
A tower of strength against the enemy.
~Psalms 61:3

When the LORD called Moses to return to Egypt and bring His people out of slavery, Moses questioned God.  He wanted to know by whose name — by whose authority — was he to speak.  We read:

Then Moses said to God,  “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?”

God said to Moses,  “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

God, furthermore, said to Moses,
“Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel,
‘The LORD,
the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob,
has sent me to you.’
This is My name forever,
and this is My memorial-name to all generations.
~Exodus 3:13-15

God declared the name LORD as His memorial name to all generations.  He is known to ALL GENERATIONS by the name Yahweh.  Such a sacred name that the Jewish people will not speak it.  In English we have given the Hebrew tetragrammaton of YHWH the transliteration of Jehovah.

This is the name Jesus spoke when questioned by the Pharisees.  They became so enraged that they took up stones to kill Him!

Jesus said to them,
“Truly, truly, I say to you,
before Abraham was born,
I am.”
~John 8:58

God is known by His Forever Name — I AM  — to all generations!

Jesus is the Great I AM!  Emmanuel — God With Us!!!

In the Book to the Hebrews we are given this explanation:

Because God’s children are human beings––made of flesh and blood––Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could He deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.  We all know that Jesus came to help the descendants of Abraham, not to help the angels. Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, His brothers and sisters, so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He then could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since He Himself has gone through suffering and temptation, He is able to help us when we are being tempted.  Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.  ~Hebrews 2 & 3

 

What is the name of your God?

If you want to serve the God of the Bible,

His name is I AM.

I am the LORD! That is My name!
I will not share My glory with anyone else, or the praise due Me with idols.
~Isaiah 42:8

 

Real Life in Christ

Standard

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ,
set your sights on the realities of heaven,
where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power.

Let heaven fill your thoughts.
Do not think only about things down here on earth.

For you died when Christ died,
and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world,
you will share in all His glory.

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.

Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires.
Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry.

God’s terrible anger will come upon those who do such things.

You used to do them when your life was still part of this world.

But now is the time to get rid of
anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.

Don’t lie to each other,
for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds.

In its place you have clothed yourselves
with a brand–new nature that is continually being renewed
as you learn more and more about Christ,
who created this new nature within you.

In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile,
circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free.
Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us.

Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves,
you must clothe yourselves with
tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

You must make allowance for each other’s faults
and forgive the person who offends you.
Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love.
Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace.
And always be thankful.

Let the words of Christ, in all their richness,
live in your hearts and make you wise.
Use His words to teach and counsel each other.
Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

And whatever you do or say,
let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus,
all the while giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

~Colossians 3:1-17

I haven’t always lived like this in my Christian walk.

Oh Father, make me wise through Christ’s words. Let me be a true “little Christ” as I follow after Your Son. Thank you, Lord, for bestowing upon me love, grace, and patience. Empower me to fulfill Your will. I ask in Jesus’ name, amen.