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  • Forgiveness…the song

    For those of you who read my blog on a regular basis, you know that I love music!  God speaks to me so clearly through song!  If only I could sing 🙂  Yesterday’s devotional on “Forgiveness and Restored Relationship” just keeps going through my mind.  It ended up being a big part of our Bible Study discussion last night.   Matthew West’s song “Forgiveness”  keeps running through my mind ever since the idea for the devotional came into my thoughts.  Last June Todd and I went to The International Christian Retail Show in St. Louis and got to see Matthew West Emcee a “New Talent” Night.  We have loved his music for years and it was great to see a different side of him–the funny side!  It was a fun night and we were blessed to receive his book on Forgiveness.

    Matthew West at ICRS St. Louis
    Matthew West at ICRS St. Louis

    If you’ve never heard this song, you’re missing out!  The story that inspired the song is amazing!  It’s a wonderful story of forgiveness that led to a completely unexpected restored relationship.  Click on the links below that go to the youtube links for his song and the short video clip or his website where you can buy his awesome music.  Hope you listen and are inspired to forgive!
    Matthew WestSong–Forgiveness
    Story Behind The Song–Forgiveness Video Clip
    Matthew West’s Website
     

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  • Does Forgiveness Equal Restored Relationship?

    “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example…”
                                                                                 Ephesians 4:32-5:1 NIV

    Life is so generous to give us lots of opportunities to extend forgiveness to people who hurt us. What’s the proper response to offence? Do we always have to forgive?

    Does forgiveness =equal= restored relationship?

    If we are to follow God’s example, as this verse instructs us, then forgiveness is a must and restored relationships need to be our intent. Sadly, I don’t think forgiveness can always lead to restored relationships, and we see that in Jesus’ relationship with the Pharisees.
    Isaiah 59:2 explains that our sin is an offence to God, separating us in our relationship with Him. The more we sin and the longer we continue offending Him, the more distant our relationship with Him becomes. Forgiveness can take place in an instant when a prayer is whispered, but it takes time to rebuild a relationship with God.
    Restoration happens when we take ownership of our offence and change our ways. We have to go through a process to rebuild our closeness with the Father.

    The same principle needs to be applied to our earthly relationships. We must forgive others for their offences towards us. If we don’t, it keeps us bound in bitterness. It’s healthy to learn that a restored relationship is separate from forgiveness and requires a healing process.
    When approaching relationship restoration, we need to consider the whole counsel of scripture. Proverbs 4:23 warns,

    “Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life” (NLT).

    Proverbs 22:24 cautions,

    “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
    do not associate with one easily angered...”

    Sometimes you’ll need to forgive and protect yourself from unhealthy or even toxic relationships. In the best of times, forgiveness leads to a better, stronger restored relationship.

    Prayer:

    Father, I thank You for Your forgiveness. I ask for grace to forgive others in my life who have hurt and offended me. I take myself out of the judge’s seat and release them to Your judgement and justice. Please help me to guard my heart, without closing it in the area of relationship restoration. May I walk in Your wholeness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

    [tweetthis]Does forgiveness =equal= restored relationship?[/tweetthis]

    Drawing From The Well

    1. Ephesians 4:32
    2. Isaiah 59:2
    3. Proverbs 22:24–25
    4. Proverbs 4:23

    Soul H2OThis post was first published on January 19, 2014 and then included in my first Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.
    Devotion #17 – Forgiveness and Restored Relationship.  The original devotion also inspired a #musicpic post called, The Forgiveness Song

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  • Finding Christ

    cross-and-water1

    “Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood.  He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.”
                                                               Exodus 15:25 NIV

    Have you ever been going through a trying time and wondered where God was?  Well, I have and so have the Israelites. This scripture comes in the middle of the story when the Israelites had just gone through the Red Sea.  They had just broken free of bondage in Victory…only to wander for 3 days without water!   They finally find water and run to drink it, but the water is bitter and undrinkable.  That was enough suffering to make the people forget the miracle of the water parting and want to go back to their old life.  They grumble and complain to Moses.  Moses does the right thing and cries out to the Lord.  Oh, if we always took the time to cry out to the Lord like Moses did—and—wait for Him to speak!  Oh, how different our lives would be!
    God showed Moses a piece of wood.  Moses throws it into the water and it creates a chemical reaction to change the whole body of water.  Seriously?  A piece of wood?  This doesn’t make sense, if you don’t see the cross symbolism.  A piece of wood couldn’t change water in the natural.  God supernaturally used a piece of wood to be a type or foreshadowing of the cross.  Only Jesus can take the bitter sufferings that we face and bring something sweet out of them.  We need God to open our spiritual eyes so we can see how Christ is there, just like the wood was, mighty to save.
    Moses took the time to cry out to God and ask Him to be involved in his problem.  He expected God to show up, and show up He did, providing water in the desert.  Take time today to bring your needs before God.  Open up your spiritual eyes to see Christ in your bitter circumstances and allow Him to give you water!

    open your eyes

    Prayer:
    Father…You see the bitterness of life on this earth and you stand along the sidelines waiting for me to tag you in.  Please open my eyes today to see you working on my behalf!  May I never doubt that you are there, because you are!  You are Mighty to Save!  Thank-you!  In Jesus name, Amen

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  • Payback or Reward?

    Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 8.29.29 AM“The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good man rewarded for his.”  Proverbs 14:14
    What’s in your wallet?  Ever since stores started coming out with Rewards Programs my wallet started getting thicker!   I had to get a separate wallet of sorts to hold them all!  I love all these programs.  It’s so nice to get to the checkout and have the cashier ask you if you want to use your reward.  Who wouldn’t choose that?  Stores reward us for shopping with them.  God rewards us for the way we live.
    Rewards are blessings for doing something good.  Merriam Webster describes the word Payback as “punishment for something that was done in the past”1.   http://www.ThePayBack.com is a strange website dedicated to recording “payback” stories of revenge.  The funniest one I read was about a girl who played a “payback” prank on a cheating boyfriend by giving him a pair of boxers rubbed in poison ivy, before she told him she knew!  Now that’s one sassy lassy!
    Without the grace of God in our lives we would all reap the payback for our sins.  Through Christ’s work on the cross we receive His righteousness, His goodness and are rewarded with His eternal blessings.
    Payback or Reward?  It’s your choice, but like I said, who wouldn’t choose a reward?
    Prayer
    Father… I thank you for your grace that frees me from the law of the payback.  May I continue to place my faith in you so that I may receive every reward you have for me here on earth and in heaven.  In Jesus name, Amen

    1.  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/payback

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  • Woship Music

    Hope you’re having a GREAT New Year already!!!  I am!  I’ve had three days off work now and feel refreshed!  Looking forward to an amazing year!  Praying God blesses you all with an Ephesians 3:20 year~beyond what you could ever ask or imagine!

    After Monday’s Devotional, I keep listening to the music I talked about and thought you might like to listen to some great songs too!  Here are the links for the songs I talked about.
    Click on the Words in between the photos for a link to hear the songs on Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 3.15.36 PM

    kari jobe   Kari Jobe–Adore Him   Kari Jobe- Adore Him

     
    avalon 2     Avalon–Destined        Avalon reborn CD for Destined
     
     
     
     
     
     

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  • Destined To Worship

    “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed…and they bowed down and worshipped him.”             Matthew 2:10-11

    Have you ever been listening to the radio and a song just grabs you?  This Christmas I was asked to make a short video introducing a trio in our church singing Kari Jobe’s song “Adore Him”.  In the song, she writes about the story of the Magi who followed the star to find Jesus.  Using the words and tune for the Christmas Carol  “O Come All Ye Faithful” for the chorus, she compels us to join her in worship as she repeats the phrase “Come Let Us Adore Him” with such passion.

    Music profoundly impacts my life.  I am brought to tears more by songs than anything else.  If only I could sing!  Listening to Kari’s song led me to spend a great deal of time thinking and reading about these men who travelled so far searching for a King.  Men who would have given up so much to make this journey, putting their lives at risk by not going back to King Herod after he sent them to find this King of the Jews.  Herod falsely claimed that his motives were to worship the King, but the Magi, they were pursuing their destiny to worship the King.

    Today my iTunes started playing Avalon’s song “Destined” and I was again moved by music.   This song helped me to realize that Romans 14:11 is true and that we all have the same destiny as the Magi.  We’re all Destined To Worship!  So, be like the Magi and seek after Jesus the bright Morning Star!  When you find Him, humble yourself and lavish Him with your praise!

    Prayer:

    Father…I praise you for who you are because, You are good!  Almighty…Always There, and You Know Everything!  I want my life to be an act of worship to you in the words I say and the meditations of my heart.  Help me fulfill my destiny to worship you!  In Jesus name, Amen

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  • Immanuel–Astounding Christmas

    “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and they will call him Immanuel—which means, ‘God with us’.”                                                Isaiah 9:6-7

    This verse comes after the record of the angel visiting Joseph.  If I ever wondered before, reading through the Christmas story this year shows me how much God loves to astound people with His presence!

    The Group 4 HIM captured Joseph’s encounter with the angel best in their song “Strange Way To Save The World”.  The chorus is supposed to be Joseph questioning God while holding baby Jesus.  The words say so much:

    “Why me, I’m just a simple man of trade
    Why Him, with all the rulers in the world
    Why here, inside this stable filled with hay
    Why her, she’s just an ordinary girl
    Now I’m not one to second guess what angels have to say,
    But this is such a strange way, to save the World”

    The biblical stories of Christmas are more shocking than putting up your Christmas lights in an electrical storm!  A pregnant virgin rides a donkey to a town far away where she has to give birth to the King of kings in a stable, angels appearing to lowly shepherds, Magi travelling for years looking for a king and worshipping a child, giving him costly gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Nothing in the story makes natural sense…but they are the events that supernaturally changed the world!

    This Christmas, open up your heart, giving God room to show up in your life as “Immanuel”.  He wants to be God “with us”.  May His presence overwhelm and astound you with His peace!

    Merry Christmas!

    Prayer: 

    Father…I’m so thankful that you desire to be “God with us”, not “God far away from us”.  May I, along with the world, sense Your presence anew this Christmas in astounding ways!  In Jesus name, Amen

     

     

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  • Your Best Chistmas Gift

    “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”                                                Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV)

    Christmas time can be the “Most Wonderful Time of The Year!”  Sadly it doesn’t feel like that for everyone.  Today, I have spent much of the day hearing stories from people to whom this season is not turning out to be their most wonderful time.  Health problems, relationship issues and the passing of a loved one can steal the joy of the Christmas season and make the problems seem more devastating than at any other time of the year.  The sheer busyness of the Christmas schedule with its concerts and cards, shopping and baking, can take the peace out of our lives.

    It’s a blessing to know that when the Father sent His son down to earth, He gave us Jesus, our Prince of Peace.  Jesus understands what it feels like to be under pressure.  He had the government “on his shoulders”.  He experienced relationship issues and the passing of a loved one.  His body was broken and beaten, for us.  Find peace in the truth that Jesus knows your hurt and that He can be your peace in the midst of a storm.  His offer to the disciples in a trying time is what He offers you today.  I hope you take it and receive what Jesus is offering you.  It will be your best Christmas gift yet!

    “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.  John 14:27 (NLT)

    Prayer:

    Father…I thank-you for sending Jesus down as a child to be born and live in this world so that, He could understand my triumphs and my hurts.  Jesus, I receive Your gift of peace today, please apply it to my heart and mind.  Help me to walk in Your peace as I take time to remember Your birth this Christmas.  In Jesus name, Amen

     

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