Into the Depths

In the midst of space exploration and all of the advancements that have occurred with manned flights, it still amazes me that our levels of expertise are still limited in our ability to fully know the depths of the ocean at its deepest points. All that lies beneath still remains a mystery in some ways, but in the very essence of what that means I find joy; for it gives me an image of what it truly means when I think of how my Savior went to the depths to rescue me.

Psalm 40:2 KJV
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

Psalm 130:1 KJV
Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.

Psalm 130:4 KJV
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

There is great joy in the realization that not only has He gone to the depths to rescue me, to forgive me and to save me from the depths of my sin, He has cast my sin into the depths of the sea.

Micah 7:19 KJV
He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

In my mind I picture my sin as it is cast into the abyss, the furtherest depths of the ocean in the blackest absence of light, never to be remembered. In that image I find great humility, knowing someone would love me so much that they would love me in spite of who I am, taking away my deepest darkest sin, dying that I might not perish; giving to me instead, everlasting life.

John 3:16 KJV
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Ephesians 2:6-8
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

He went into the depths to raise me up that I might live in Him.

That Which He Hath Purposed

So often I get caught up in the day, doing this, determining that, as if I am in control of my world. I go about throughout the day full steam ahead in the power of my own strength as if what I am purposing to do in myself will come to a good end.

It doesn’t take long for it to all fall apart, leaving me fully aware that it’s not in me to purpose to do this or that; it’s God through which the purpose is made real and only in Him can it be manifest in our lives.

Isaiah 14:26-27 “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it ? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”

Who is it to question what His purpose is or that what He has purposed will come truly come to pass ? He created all that exists, He is in control of all that exists, and what He has purposed will be as He hath said it will be.

Ephesians 1:8-9 “Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:”

The fact that He has given us His Word by which we can learn of His intended purpose, allowing us the opportunity to become a part of His purposed plan is beyond my comprehension. He has given us the ability to come before Him to learn of His intended purpose, just as the coach goes over the playbook before the game, God stands ready to give us the purpose and plan for each new day.

Ephesians 3:11-12 “According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”

Not only do we have the ability to learn of His intended purpose, we can gain access to the confidence we need to fulfill that purpose through our faith in Him. It is in and through our faith that we become part of His intended purpose. Once we have accepted Christ as our Savior we become part of that which He hath purposed to do, so that in and through us He can be glorified.

Ephesians 1:11-12 “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”

So it is when I begin my day in acknowledgement of who He is that created me, knowing that I was created to live each day of my life for that which He hath purposed . . . then and only then, it is a Good Day for I am living toward that which He hath purposed.

Who We are When No One But God is Near

Sometimes it’s easy to be “that” person when everyone is looking, “that” person that has it all together, “that” person that knows God’s perfect plan and is moving forward in complete surrender to His will. “That” person who never struggles with doubt or fear, “that” person who loves with sincerity and openness of heart never struggling with feelings of jealousy or envy. “That” person who trusts God completely, knowing He is working all things for our good and His glory in His perfect time.

Yet, in the quiet of the darkness of night and in the break of first morning’s light when no one but God is near, the facade of “that” person disappears and the reality of who we are is made known.

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

We are often fooled by what we see outwardly, but God sees the heart. He knows the reality of who we are when no one else is near. He sees our hurt, our pain, our doubt, our pride, our sin.

Psalm 139:1-4 “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.”

God sees every action and every thought, He knows us inside and out; yet, in our imperfect state His thoughts are still toward us and in that is the most amazing of all truths.

Psalm 139:16-17 “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!”

The reality of the true extent of His desire to be with us when no one else is near, knowing us for who we really are should enable us to live in the freedom of that realization. In Him we do not have to be “that” person, we can be exactly who we are, a person saved by His grace as a result of and despite our imperfection.

Thus, we can live as we are when no one else but God is near fully confident in who we are in Him. We are free to be honest, allowing others to see our vulnerabilities in all humbleness knowing God can use our brokenness to reach a world that is broken.

Ephesians 2:3-5,8-10 “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Light Reflections

The first light of morning is always a beautiful thing, a fascinating miracle of life as the light creeps over the horizon. It’s expression of new hope fills the heart with anticipation, anticipation of all the promise held by the new day that is dawning. I’ve often wondered about that moment when the first light of my Savior dawns with the realization that a new day has come over the horizon and the darkness of the night will be no more, for it will all be gone away.

2 Samuel 23:4 “And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.

Paul experienced this light in the brightness of light of day, this light that he saw far exceeded the light of the sun at noon day.

Acts 26:13 “At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.

Even in the brightest of days, the light of our Savior expands far beyond human comprehension. We cannot begin to understand the light that exists within the person of our God and Savior.

John 1:3-5 “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”

This light is so great that it shines in the darkest of nights, it reaches beyond the imprisonments of sin and gives life where death once was found. It penetrates beyond the grasp of darkness to the sinner that turns toward the light.

John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

No matter where we have been, where we are, or what we might have done, this light comes to to us in the depth of our darkness. We need only turn toward the source of all light.

Psalm 107:13-14 “Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.”

When we experience the light that comes with the forgiveness of our sins, it spreads throughout our soul as the first rays of summer’s warmth shining upon our face. We lift our face up to the source of inner light, soaking in the essence of who He is and what He has done. A new day dawns within us.

Isaiah 58:8 “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.”

1 John 2:8 “Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.”

Once we experience this great light it becomes a part of us, it lives within us. The beauty of light is in its ability to spread outward, to overtake the darkness that exists. Light was never intended to be hidden, but to be shared with those in darkness.

Matthew 5:14-16 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

We are commanded to take our light to others, to share the light that we have been given. Unlike the light contained within the wattage of a light bulb, the light within us is limitless exceeding outward to dispel darkness.

Isaiah 42:16 “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.”

And, in that day when the last set of sun occurs in our lives, we will step into the dawning of Heavens light where no darkness will ever exist for all is Light.

Isaiah 60:19-20 “The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

And so it is that we should be reminded, the time is nearing when all that is darkness shall be put away and all will be light. Romans 13:12 “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

Be Not Dismayed, Nor Afraid

In the darkness of night there is opportunity for thoughts to overtake us that leave us feeling afraid. Fears tend to be greater in the night, thoughts that flea with the light of day seem to be so much more threatening while darkness prevails around us.

God has commanded us to not be afraid, to not be dismayed. He has promised to be there to give us courage and strength in those moments when we find ourselves in the midst of an ever threatening darkness.

Deuteronomy 31:8 “And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.”

Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

He goes before us, ensuring our safety; even in the midst of great darkness, He is there with us. He is our strength when we feel alone. Regardless what we might face, what darkness that might attempt to hold us in its grasp, our God is so much bigger. He stands ready to make a way, to clear a path before us, protecting us.

Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Be not afraid, even when the night is dark.

That They Might Have Life

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

There is a thief, he is very real. He comes to us in very subtle ways, just as he came to Eve in the garden.

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1

He didn’t come to the garden that day to add value to her life. He came to steal something from her that she would never regain. He does the same to us each day of our lives. He comes to steal our life from us, to take that which matters the most.

He creeps in very subtly, he comes slowly taking from us one moment at a time. He eases himself into places he should never be allowed to enter. He takes over our time and our thoughts, filling them with so many things that soon God no longer has the place He once had. Moments once spent with God become focused on other things to the point we no longer spend time with Him. Soon we begin to doubt God’s word, the very promises that He gives to enable us to live the life Christ died that we might live. We lose sight of the life He has promised us.

The thief has entered our lives, robbing us of the life we once lived in our daily walk with the Father. Just as Adam and Eve hid from the presence of God, we do the same.

“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8

They heard the Father, but sin had taken over their lives. They were no longer comfortable in His presence. The life they had in Him had been taken. The abundance of life that He had created for them had become tarnished. The thief had come to destroy and he had succeeded. Or so he thought . . .

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Revelation 2:7

“And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Revelation 21:6

That they might have life . . .

For His Purpose

The all encompassing question as we go through the ever moving pages of the calendar, What is my purpose?Looking back upon yesterday or last week, the month or year that came and has now gone; what was my purpose, my intent? Have I accomplished anything that matters, did I fulfill the purpose for which I was born? Its a question that fills each of our minds from time-to-time.

It was my 50th birthday that really caught me in deep reflection of these questions. Questions that caused me to consider the importance of the days that add up to create the years that become the story of our lives. As I greeted that day, that moment of time in which I reached that number 50 in my story, I was asking where had the time gone. What did I have to show for those years, what filled the pages of my story? My husband actually turned my attention to the wall of pictures that lined our hall. The faces of my children, my grandchildren, family members that have come and those that have gone. Nothing that sat around my home, no artifact or painting became a semblance of my life, but the faces that I saw lining the hall, the face that were pieces of my life revealed the purpose for which I had been created. My purpose was within each of those relationships, each of the stories that came about because of the pages of my story.

Each day, I interact with others. Sometimes it is family, sometimes it is friends, but sometimes it is people that I may never see again. Within each of those interactions I have the opportunity to be used for a purpose, God’s purpose. The fulfillment of my purpose lies in how I respond to that single moment in time.

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” II Timothy 1:9

According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:11

His purpose within each of our lives is an eternal purpose. What we do today may not seem that relevant, yet in the pages of eternity it has the ability to become a monumental day. Not all of our moments seem like those that will have such significance, but it becomes the overall affect of those moments linked together that establish the testimony that takes on eternal value in the lives of those we meet along the way. For His purpose we have been given the riches of His grace not for us to keep to ourselves, but for us to share with others. He has given us all that we need to fulfill His purpose, He has imparted to us the knowledge and wisdom we need to share the mystery of all that He is and will be in eternity past, present and future.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace: wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence: having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself” Ephesians 1:7-9

So it is that we live today with purpose, knowing that in us and through us He works toward the good of all that we meet along the way. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

For His Purpose . . .

In the Beginning God

I recently joined a ladies Bible Study group and the first assignment was to read the first book of Genesis. As I began to read I wasn’t able to get past the first phrase of the first verse. “In the beginning God . . .” Wow, have you ever paused there and just contemplated the power of all that is represented by that phrase?

I did a search to look at the word God found throughout the Bible, as I scrolled through I could not help but see my smallness (minuteness, meagerness, inadequacy) and His massiveness (immenseness, vastness, sufficiency).

Genesis 1:3 “And God said, . . .”

Genesis 1:4 “And God saw, . . .”

Genesis 1:5 “And God called, . . .”

Genesis 1:7 “And God made . . .”

Genesis 1:21 ” And God created . . .”

Genesis 1:22 “And God blessed. . . “

So much is contained within the first chapter of the Bible, so much is revealed about the power and magnitude of the God that we serve. Each aspect of our lives should reveal the attributes of the God that we see in Genesis 1. We should be demonstrating to the world the realization of the Creator that we serve, the Master of the universe, the Redeemer of the world. Each day should begin with the knowledge of all that we have within our reach, the ability to come before the God of all beginnings, the Father of all that come unto Him.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22: 13-14

In the beginning God . . .” Genesis 1:1

In the Midst of Vexation

“And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries.” II Chronicles 15:5

When reading this scripture I was struck by the close resemblance to our current time. Even though this scripture was written centuries ago, it was as if it were the latest headlines of a local newspaper. My heart pauses within me and my head bows low as I struggle with tears that form. I often think back over the past ten, fifteen, twenty years, thinking about the differences that now exist; differences we would never have dreamed possible even five years in the past.

Today the “vexation” of the spirit can become so overwhelming that despair would surely set in if it were not for the promises that we can find in God’s Holy Word. Though we live in the present, facing the struggles that are common to all, we know the rest of the story. We know that in the midst of vexation, God stands ever present caring for those that belong to Him.

“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.” Isaiah 65: 13-14

In the midst of vexation, I will lift my eyes toward Heaven looking to the author and finisher of my faith who has promised to deliver me.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith: who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Loved Unto the End

We have all read, heard, or watched a love story where the love of two people lasted all the way to the end. A true love story, but what about the greatest story ever told of love unto the end? What about the love of a Savior that never faltered or failed even when He was beaten and crucified to pay for the sin of the ones He loved? What about the truest love of all unto the end?

“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” John 13:1

Even when His body was being ripped apart, He loved us. Even when He hug upon a cross dying in our place, He loved us. Even when His Father turned His back on Him, He loved us. Even when the thirst became too much, He loved us. Even when He suffered the utmost shame as He took upon Himself our sin, He loved us. And as He lifted up His eyes to heaven declaring it all to be finished, the price to be paid for sin was complete, He loved us. He loved us even unto the end.

“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:” Galatians 1:4

He died to make a way for us to be reconciled to God. He paid the penalty of our sin. He gave Himself for us, He loved us until the end. He rose from the dead that we might live in Him.

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” Revelation 1:5

He loves us until the end and one day He will carry those who have accepted His love and trusted in the work that He did upon the cross home to be with Him !!! Truest of all love until the end . . .