Oh taste and see

I just have one question for y’all this evening…it’s something that has been growing within my heart the last few weeks.

Have you tasted Who the Lord is?

tasteandsee

I’m sure you’ve heard the Truth many, many times that God is good. Do you know this as merely a fact about God, or have you tasted it, have you experienced His goodness?

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:8

Have you tasted that the Lord is gracious (1Pet. 2:3), awesome, loving, true, and real?

Do you really know the Lord for yourself? Meaning, have you learned Who God is by a first-hand relationship, or simply by what you have read or others have taught you?

Who is God to you? What aspects about Him can you say you know because you have spent time with Him? Perhaps He is just God to you right now. Perhaps He is your Savior or Strength. Perhaps He is your Truest Friend, or the Husband of your soul.

Wherever you are in your relationship with Him, I encourage you to press on to know Him better. To really know Him for yourself, not just what others have told you about Him. To know God deeply and intimately. To know His heart.

And when you know His heart, you will know how He feels about sin, you will know what to pray, and I promise, you will be changed.

Like Paul, may we count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. And may we never get to a place where we stop getting to know God.

In Christ,

Grace

Five Minute Friday: Identity

          

           A girl walked in the quiet of the morning, woods behind her and a trickling stream at her side. A song in her heart, a book in her hand, and a word on her lips—Yeshua.

           A stranger approached–perhaps you, and said, “Excuse me lass, but why do you walk alone so early in the morning?”

           The girl turned round greeting the stranger with a rich smile. “Oh no, you are mistaken, I never walk alone. You see, my Jesus is always with me.”

           With a tone of perplexity and awe the stranger asked, “Who are you?”

           “Who am I?” Her smile deepened. “I am a sinner saved by grace, a daughter of the King. I am beloved of my Lord, so much so that He died to save me. I am the light of the world, the salt earth.
           “I am not Destitute, Depressed, or Alone. I am one with unspeakable Joy in my heart, never to be termed Forsaken. I am Loved, Cherished, Chosen, and Desired. I am in Christ, and crucified with Him. I am a temple—a dwelling place—for God. I am covered with the blood of Jesus, and spotless in God’s sight.
           “This is my identity, I am a Christian.”

           And with that, she smiled, curtsied, and went on, singing as she went.

 Who are you?

Drawn by my brother in Christ, Jeremy

 

A Warrior Princess: Restored

The Warrior Princess lie in mud in a cloudy darkness and had been there for about a week, although she couldn’t really remember how long. She groaned as pain pulsed through her bruised body. Weak and head throbbing, she slowly pulled herself up from the ground to a sitting position. She was covered in dry blood and mud.  Running her fingers through her mud-caked hair she tried to recall what had happened.

“Where’s my armor?” Horror filled her heart as she realized she didn’t know where it was. Squinting her eyes she could make out the outline of her armor strewn in the darkness around her. It all came back now.

It started when she took her eyes off the cross. She hadn’t meant to, she just became unintentional about her focus. After she had traveled on for awhile she put her sword in her sheath thinking that it was getting rather wearisome to hold out all the time. Plus, she saw no signs of the enemy, surely they wouldn’t attack. On she walked oblivious to the fact that her enemies’ greatest desire was for her to put her sword in her sheath.

 She continued her way unaware that it slowly grew darker. Soon, she was lost in a thick dark cloud and instead of crying out for help she stumbled on. Her shield of faith slipped out of her hand and dropped with a slow, dramatic thud to the ground.

All of a sudden, she found herself surrounded by the enemy. Frantically, she looked for her shield, but it was too dark. In her nervousness she couldn’t manage to pull her sword out of her sheath. There she was, trapped and defenseless. Her enemies mocked and laughed at her as they danced around in glee. They were all there–Flesh, Pride, Emptiness, Failure, Depression, Loneliness and others.

In the darkness they spoke lies to her and tormented her. Fear filled her soul and she felt as if she’d never experience joy again. For as they danced round her, one would knock her down, another would throw a rock at her, another would slap her cheek, and so on. It was utter distress and agony for she could not see her attackers, nor what they would do next.

She felt so ashamed. “How could this happen?” “Will I ever live in victory?!” She wept, and groaned, and pleaded with them to stop. But it was of no avail, the enemies’ attacks didn’t let up—if anything, they increased.

“Look what you did! You failed again!” “You’ll never be like your precious Shepherd King—never!” “Just give up!” They called out in torment.

My Shepherd! Oh how I long to walk in fellowship with Him again! She lifted up her eyes and screamed out with all the strength she had. “Shepherd! Shepherd! My precious Yeshua! Come seek me out and deliver me from this miserable dark and cloudy day! Come quick–” Her request was cut short from a well aimed rock to the head. Everything went black and she sunk limp to the ground.

As she sat there remembering these things tears sprang to her eyes. Her tormenters appeared to be gone—at least for the moment. And it seemed to be a little brighter—maybe? But where, oh where was her Shepherd?!

She wiped her tearful eyes on her sleeve. Just then she saw with dismay the state of her garment, and it made her all the more sorrowful. Her beautiful white dress with the pale blue trim was torn and caked in mud—it was a very sorry sight. Had it been one of her other garments she wouldn’t have minded so much; but this is the one that He had given her. She thought back to the time when Yeshua had given it to her…

He was beaming with delight that morning when He surprised her with it. It was so funny to watch Him try to suppress His joy as He held a parcel behind His back, trying not to look suspicious. It ended in one big goofy grin and lots of laughter. When she opened it she gasped at the beauty of the garment. The Shepherd smiled with pleasure at her reaction. He said, “It is called the Garment of Praise, dear one. It is a gift for you.” “Oh thank you!” she stuttered to find words to thank Him, never quite finishing a sentence when He snatched her up in His arms and they embraced.

She smiled as remembered; “Thank You, Yeshua.” She whispered. With that the cloud lifted a bit. Is there a connection? She thought. But I don’t feel like praising…Guess it couldn’t hurt to try though.

“My Shepherd, You are good. You have done so much for me; I praise Your name.” The cloud started rising and her heart started pounding with excitement. “You made the heavens, and they declare Your glory!” She stood up on her shaky legs and continued, growing louder, “Your love is so great, so wonderful, more than I can comprehend!” Growing even louder and stretching forth a hand she said, “Your merices are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness!” With the cloud almost lifted she stretched both arms as high as she could reach and looking into heaven praised Him at the top of her lungs. “You have conquered death and the grave! O death, where is the victory? O grave, where is thy sting?! You are the Victor! I praise You, oh I praise You!”

She pulled her gaze down from heaven, and there was her Shepherd in front of her. She fell down at His feet worshiping and asking for forgiveness. He reached down with His nail pierced hand and pulled her up saying, “I have already forgiven you, precious.” Then He scooped her up in His arms and took her to the still waters.

There He washed her, fed her, and bound up her wounds. There, beside the still waters, He restored her soul. He taught her once again to abide and rest in Him, and how to let Him reign in her life. And He restored to her the garment of praise.

For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. Ezekiel 34:11, 12

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. Isaiah 61:3

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3

 

One question…

Every Wednesday evening, when school’s in, I attend a three hour long class at my church called Faith Bible Institute (FBI). It’s amazing, and this semester just started up last week. Over the course of the past three semesters that I have taken, I have learned and grown so much…each evening leaves me with so much to think about, and wanting more. That’s where I find myself this evening…

So many thoughts and questions run through my head right now…One however, stands out.

How much do I love God?

Here are some thoughts I hurriedly scribbled down in my journal during this evening’s class:

Am I constantly looking for ways to love God?

I want to be so in love with God that I am constantly looking for ways I can serve Him. I should look at every opportunity, everything Christ asks me to do as a joyous privilege to show my love for Him.

Now things are clicking…the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. For when we do this, we will be so absolutely in love with Christ that we look for every opportunity we can to show Him our love. We would automatically keep His other commandments. No wonder “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he that is that loveth me.” And, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” It just goes round an round in a circle.

Oh, and God’s love is so incredible. He continually is showing His love for me. Scarce can I even begin to comprehend the depth of His love! Even while I was a sinner, Christ died for me…

After writing that and thinking over it, I was left with one question…

How much do I love God?

Sure, I love Him enough that I would die for Him…But do I love Him enough that’d I’d rise up early in the morning and give Him first place (that means before I check my e-mail). Do I love Him so much that every spare thought is of Him–when my mind wonders, does it go to Him? Do I love Him so much that I truly give Him the glory in everything? Do I love Him so much that every chance I get, I turn conversations towards Him?

I have this picture in my mind of a girl who every spare moment she runs to God’s Word hungry for what He has to say to her. At the back of her mind she is always thinking of Christ. She simply can’t wait for each morning, and jumps out of bed bubbling over with eagerness to spend time with her Lord. In short, every thought, word, action, deed is solely focused on Christ and is done as an expression of immense love for Him.

Oh how I want this for myself! As I write anguish swells up deep within me…This is the thing I crave–to know and love God more.“How?” I ask. He replies, “one day at a time.”

And with that I slip into bed underneath a stack of warm blankets, my mind and heart racing, longing, anguishing, and asking one question…

How much do I love God?

Arise My Beloved, and Come Away~

 

Will you arise when He calls you?

Right now, the most important thing in my life is my romance with Jesus Christ. Oh yes, He is all that matters. My heart sees Scripture through different eyes now; it’s all one big love letter from God to me. And when I’m in-love with Christ, I jump up in the morning and eagerly read His Word, just as I imagine it’ll be like when someday I’ll receive letters from my earthly prince. Oh that everyday was like that! *sigh*

I love this passage from Song of Solomon; my Jesus is so good. This is what I think of when I’m daunted with insecurites, or simply feel alone. It helps a lot knowing how Christ–my Prince, sees me.

10 My beloved spoke, and said to me:

      “ Rise up, my love, my fair one,
      And come away.
       11 For lo, the winter is past,
      The rain is over and gone.
       12 The flowers appear on the earth;
      The time of singing has come,
      And the voice of the turtledove
      Is heard in our land.
       13 The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
      And the vines with the tender grapes
      Give a good smell.
      Rise up, my love, my fair one,
      And come away!
       14“ O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
      In the secret places of the cliff,
      Let me see your face,
      Let me hear your voice;
      For your voice is sweet,
      And your face is lovely.”

Some mornings when I wake, I know God woke just for the purpose of spending time with Him and this passage comes to me. I can almost hear Jesus say with an outstretched hand, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away! I have so many wonderful treasures to show you, dear Grace.”

With His strength I will crucify my fleshly desire for more sleep, take His hand, rise up, and go with Him. Isn’t it truly wonderful that God Almighty loves us, saves us, and wants to spend time with us? His love and goodness towards us is truly unfathomable.

O Lord, set my heart on fire for You! Give me a love for You that precedes everything else. Rip my flesh away, no matter how painful. Oh, give me a love for You. a.l.o.n.e.

In Your presence is fullness of joy. Absolute fullness of joy.

Blessings,

Grace

Psalm 16:11