Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanks to God

In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thess. 5:18

Thanks to God
Words by August L. Storm
Translated from Swedish to English by Carl E. Backstrom

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Beauty of Faithfulness

Welcome to this week's Carnival of Beauty! As we reflect on what we are thankful for during this season, we can certainly add in God's faithfulness. He is faithful in so many different ways: meeting our physical needs, answering prayer, forgiving sin.

Loni reminds us that despite the failures in our fallen world, the ultimately, faithfulness can be found solely in Jesus Christ.

Susanna reflects that faithlessness is a foil to the great beauty of God's faithfulness.

And I offer encouragement that God is always faithful to forgive us.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

He Took My Sins Away

Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. Deut. 7:9

Our God is faithful. The Psalms are full of reminders of how He has been faithful to David and His people. David often extols God’s faithfulness.

Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Psalm 36:5

Indeed, the story in the Bible is one long story of the faithfulness of our God. His people are repeatedly unfaithful, but He remains. His faithfulness is shown in the sending of His son to redeem His people, to reconcile them to Himself, to give us eternal security and save us from death. This faithfulness was foreshadowed even in the very beginning, just after Eve was deceived by Satan. God promised Hope. And He delivered.

We were sinners, and yet God rescued us. While we were STILL sinners, he sent His Son to save us. We are forgiven, and yet as humans, we are still prone to sin. But God is faithful, and He forgives us if we confess.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9

Know that He has been faithful to forgive you, and faithful to provide a cure for your sin-filled life that separated you from Him. Rejoice that God has been faithful to us in providing His Son, and taking our sins away.

He Took My Sins Away
Words by Margaret Harris

I came to Jesus, weary, worn, and sad.
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
And now His love has made my heart so glad,
He took my sins away.

He took my sins away, He took my sins away,
And keeps me singing every day!
I’m so glad He took my sins away,
He took my sins away.

The load of sin was more than I could bear.
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
And now on Him I roll my ev’ry care,
He took my sins away.

No condemnation have I in my heart,
He took my sins away, He took my sins away.
His perfect peace He did to me impart,
He took my sins away.

If you will come to Jesus Christ today,
He’ll take your sins away, He’ll take your sins away,
And keep you happy in His love each day,
He’ll take your sins away.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Carnival of Beauty

It is my pleasure to host the Carnival of Beauty again this week as we celebrate faithfulness.

God is faithful, and I'm sure we all have MANY stories we could tell or examples we could give to encourage others.

Send your entries to by Thursday midnight your time. I will post the carnival on Friday morning.

We all look forward to reading how God has been faithful to you!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jesus Bids Us Shine

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Jesus Bids Us Shine
Words by Susan Warner

Jesus bids us shine
With a pure, clear light,
Like a little candle
Burning in the night.
In this world of darkness
So let us shine—
You in your small corner,
And I in mine.

Jesus bids us shine,
First of all for Him;
Well He sees and knows it,
If our light grows dim.
He looks down from Heaven
To see us shine—
You in your small corner,
And I in mine.

Jesus bids us shine,
Then, for all around;
Many kinds of darkness
In the world are found—
Sin and want and sorrow;
So we must shine—
You in your small corner,
And I in mine.

Jesus came into the world as the Light of the World, and he bids us to shine in the darkness while we are in the world. Each of us, in our small corner, can shine for Jesus in our own situations and can show His love to the people with whom we interact. Jesus told us that this would be a natural outpouring of our being His children – we are in the light, and we are called to shine that light around our corner of the world, so that people will glorify God as a result of our good works.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

We live in an imperfect world, in a crooked and perverse generation, which makes it even more important that we shine for Jesus.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world... Phil. 2:14-15

So how do we walk in the Light? How do we shine, each of us in our small corners?

Be imitators of God, walk in love, learn what is pleasing to the Lord, expose deeds of darkness, make the most of your time.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:1-16

Practice the truth.

He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God. John 3:18-22

Love your brother.

On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. I John 2:8-10

This hymn reminds us (as if we need reminding!) that many kinds of darkness in the world are found – it is so important that we shine as children of Light – that as a result of our shining in this world, men will glorify God our Father. And that is our goal while we are here on Earth – that our lives would bring glory to God, and that through our light shining, others will glorify Him as well.

As the Newsboys (modern day hymnwriters?) say,

Make 'em wonder whatcha got
Make 'em wish that they were not
on the outside looking bored
Let it shine before all men
Let 'em see good works and then
Let 'em glorify the Lord.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Alone with God

After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. Matthew 14:23

Once again, Jesus serves as our example. Even Jesus, the Son of God, truly God incarnate, knew the need to be alone with God. He sent the crowds away and went up to the mountain by Himself to pray. Because He was just like us, and faced the same things we face, He knew how much He needed to be alone with God, to pray, to realize His entire dependence on the Father.

How much more so do we need this! We are fully human and fully sinners, and we must make the time to be alone with God, to hear His voice, to study His word, and to come before Him with our petitions, in thanksgiving.

Andrew Murray writes, “Would God that every servant of His understood and practiced this blessed art, and that the Church knew how to train its children into some sense of this high and holy privilege, that every believer may and must have his time when he is indeed himself alone with God. Oh, the thought to have God all alone to myself, and to know that God has me all alone to Himself!”

It is certainly a high and holy privilege to be able to spend time reading and studying the Bible, God’s word to us, and to hear Him speak through His word. It’s also a great privilege to be able to go to Him in prayer.

I hope you will take advantage of this great privilege today. When the storms of life around you beat, you can find strength in spending time alone with your Lord and Savior.

“My soul, practice being alone with Christ! Practice that solitude! Practice the stillness of thy own heart!” –George Matheson

For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength." Isaiah 30:15

Alone with God
Words by Johnson Oatman, Jr.

When storms of life are round me beating,
When rough the path that I have trod,
Within my closet door retreating,
I love to be alone with God.

Alone with God, the world forbidden,
Alone with God, O blest retreat!
Alone with God, and in Him hidden,
To hold with Him communion sweet.

What tho’ the clouds have gathered o’er me?
What tho’ I’ve passed beneath the rod?
God’s perfect will there lies before me,
When I am thus alone with God.

’Tis there I find new strength for duty,
As o’er the sands of time I plod;
I see the King in all His beauty,
While resting there alone with God.

And when I see the moment nearing
When I shall sleep beneath the sod,
When time with me is disappearing,
I want to be alone with God.