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Hope Prevails

My dear friend, (whom I know only through FaceBook) Michelle Bengston, has been through so much this year. In the midst of all, her book, Hope Prevails was released. Although we’ve not spoken of this, I would venture to say that when she began writing this book, she was not aware of how much all of us, herself included, would need this book.  If you haven’t read it, the book should be on the top of your list of books to read in 2017.

Michelle posted the comments below on Christmas Eve night. It resonated with me and I asked her permission to share it with you. My prayer for you is that you will know, regardless of your circumstances, regardless of how bleak your life seems to be at this moment, that you will grasp and hang onto the fact that Hope Prevails!

Posted on FaceBook by Michelle Bengston on December 24, 2016.

I’ve got my sick lads tucked in bed, and the house is now quiet, lit up only by the lights on the tree. The tree has only one ornament on it this year, one that says “HOPE.” It’s been a year of sharing the message of #HopePrevails that was only made possible because of the birth of our Savior. 

Yet tonight I can’t help but think of the miracles we are waiting to see come to pass in our family and also thinking of all those I know who are in need of His same touch. The grieving widows and parents. The orphans coming to the table this year missing one or both parents. Single parents trying to make ends meet. Parents of incarcerated children. Those who are divorced, alone, and trying to find a new normal. Those who are estranged from their loved ones. Those in need of physical healing. Those in need of emotional healing. Those in need of financial healing. 

Tonight as I reflect on the significance of the holiday, I’m ever grateful that God didn’t send a president, or an entertainer, or a professor, or a scientist to the world, but instead He sent a Savior who was born in the most lowly of places to save us from our lowest selves, and to show us an unfailing love that isn’t dependent on what we do or who we are but whose we are. 

The greatest miracle was that Jesus would give up His place in heaven to come to save us all before we even knew we would need it. If God would do that out of His great love for us, surely He is able to meet any other need we would have. “He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you can ever dream, imagine, or pray for!” (Ephesians 3:20) Now that is a miracle we can all depend on!
Because of His great love for us, #HopePrevails!

 
 

 

 

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The Gift of His Peace

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

 The Gift of His Peace

 John 14:27 NKJV: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”

The gift I unwrapped this morning is the gift of peace. What a wonderful gift! Who among us can’t use more peace in these days of uncertainty?

The type of peace Jesus is speaking of in John 14:27 is not a “surface” peace where everything looks great on the outside but on the inside we are a complete wreck. No, this peace takes root in our heart and flows to every aspect of our life—emotional, spiritual, mental and physical.  No matter what happens, God’s peace never leaves you.  It is a peace the natural mind cannot comprehend. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7 NKJV)

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV) How do we obtain His peace? We have to get to know Him, personally and intimately. Trust must be built and you can’t build trust if you don’t spend time with God. Then we can trust Him with all of our life, realizing He knows what is best for us. Let go of that situation(s) that worries you and trust God to deal with it. He knows far better than we do what is best for each individual situation. “Let go and let God” means give Him those situations and allow Him to deal with them. His peace will immediately flood your heart, mind, and soul.

When we are walking in God’s peace, what do we display to those we meet? When our family, friends and even strangers see us, there is peace and contentment on our faces. More often than not, unless they already know Jesus, the people we see will notice something “different” about us. They may not know what it is, but they will see it and they will want it.

One of my favorite hymns is ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” Read the words and meditate on how trusting Him give you perfect peace.

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to take Him at His Word;

Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Refrain:
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Refrain

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

Refrain

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end. *

 

Refrain

*Words: Louisa Stead, 1882

Music: William Kirkpatrick, 1882

 

Abba Father, Help us to trust You with all of our life. We give you those situations that concern us this morning and we ask that You give us peace. Thank You that You stand ready to help when we ask and You are faithful to complete those things that concern us. We love you, Father. Amen.

 

 

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The Gift of His Word

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 

John 1:1-2: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

When I opened today’s gift, it was the gift of God’s Word. What a treasure chest – many gifts all in one place! He gave us:

  • The story of Creation
  • Recounting of the Israelites journey
  • The Leaders/Judges
  • The story of King David
  • The beautiful Psalms
  • The wise Proverbs of Solomon
  • The story of Esther
  • The trials of Job
  • The love story between Christ and His Church – Song of Solomon
  • The Prophets
  • The story of Jesus, found in the four Gospels
  • The visitation of the Holy Spirit
  • Paul’s letters to the churches
  • The letters of Peter, John and Jude
  • The book of Revelation that reveals Jesus to the world in the final days

These are only a few of the treasures found in God’s Word! Every time we “discover” a treasure, we find there are more jewels hidden within that treasure. All we need to know, every answer we seek, is found in His Word.

 

Dear Father, thank you seems very inadequate for the gift of Your Word. We are thankful for the lessons found therein and the new revelation You give to us every time we study Your Word. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

 

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The Gift of Worship

Dear Friends and Family,

Once again, I must confess (as if you didn’t already know) that I have been very lax in posting. I’ve been busy writing, editing, and doing caregiving. I now have a full-time job and I’m still writing and editing.

During this Christmas season, I did want to be in touch, so I’ve gone back into the series of Advent blogs I wrote a number of years ago and selected a few of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them. If you do, please feel free to share them with your friends and family!

The Gift of Worship

Psalm 29:2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

Psalm 100:2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

There are hundreds of verses encouraging believers to worship. Almost all of the chapters in the book of Psalms are praise and worship chapters. It is one thing that I do not have to be encouraged to do. I love to worship. I love worship music. I have worship music playing now as I write this blog.

The Westminster Catechism states: “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” One way we glorify God is through our worship music and one way we enjoy Him is through our worship. When we worship, whether privately or corporately, we are entering into the presence of the Holy One of Israel. The Almighty God who created the heavens and the earth. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. How can we not help but worship the God who created us and who loves us so much that He gave His only Son to die on the cross for our sins that we might spend eternity with Him?

When we worship, we are reminded of the awesomeness of God. We are reminded of His goodness, His love for us and of His blessings. We are able to thank Him for these blessings. We are able to tell Him how much we love Him. Many times, in our worship, Father God will speak to us—through the music, the words of the song and through His gentle whispers to our hearts and minds.

Worship music is beautiful and our Father’s heart is blessed to hear our voices lifted in worship. Even if we “can’t carry a tune in a bucket” as the old saying goes, we can still worship. The Bible says “Make a joyful noise” – it doesn’t say “sing a song in a perfect tune!” As we lift our hands in praise and bow our hearts in worship, we move even closer to the worship that is continually going on in Heaven. Psalm 63:4-5: “I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

I have realized worship lifts my spirits when I’m down. It energizes me when I’m tired. Worship makes me feel better when I’m ill. However, this is not why I worship. I worship because I am so in love with my Abba Father. And the best way I know how to tell Him is through worship.

If you have never truly entered into worship, I encourage you to do so. Put a worship CD on at home and let yourself go in the music. Listen to the words of the songs. Let the music flood your heart, your mind, your soul. Tell Father God how much you love Him and listen as He answers you back. You will be so edified, so blessed, that worship will soon become a part of your daily life.

 

Father God, thank you for worship, for beautiful music and words. Thank you for times of private worship and times of corporate worship. May our lives be an act of worship unto You. May we constantly live in an attitude of worship. May our worship be a sweet smelling savor to You, O God. I love you Abba Father. You are my King, my Lord, My Bridegroom. Amen.

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Thankful for Family!

I am thankful for my family!

I am thankful for my parents, both of whom are in heaven now. I’m thankful that they raised my sister and me in a Christian home, teaching us the values they lived every day. I love you, Mother and Daddy, and I miss you every hour of every day! I look forward to seeing you again some day!

I have a husband who loves me with all of his heart – even when I’m at my craziest, which these days, seems to be all the time! He is my best friend, my soul mate. You’ve heard the phrase, “a marriage made in heaven,” well, that’s us. In the twelve years we’ve been married, we have gone through so much–some things that might have driven other couples apart–he stood strong and we are closer today than ever before. I love you, forever and always!

I am thankful for my children! And I’m so very proud of them both. Their “growing up years” were not easy, but they persevered in their own ways and today, they are strong, successful adults – not just professionally, but just as important, they are successful personally, as well. I love both of you so much!

I am also thankful for my daughter-in-love and son-in-love, (I don’t like the term in-law)! Both have brought their unique personalities into our family, bringing more laughter and joy! I love you both!

I’m thankful for my grandson! Since the day he was born, he has been God’s blessing to our entire family. And even though he chose a path that no one would want for their grandchildren, he is still and always will be God’s blessing to us. I love you with all my heart and I look forward to the things that God is going to do in your life!

I’m thankful for my sister and her husband! They have supported me throughout the years with their prayers and encouragement. They’ve always been there for me, even when they had challenging situations in their life. I love you both and thank God for you!

And finally, I’m thankful for all of my relatives–aunts, uncles, cousins–each and every one of you. You’ve all played an important role in my life at different times and I will always be grateful! Love to each one of you!

 

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Thankful For God!

It is Monday of Thanksgiving Week. For the next few days, I want to share about people and/or things for which I’m thankful for a couple of reasons: 1) to remind myself of how blessed I am and 2) to share those blessings with you in the hope that you, too, will be blessed.

First and foremost, I am thankful for a God who loves me unconditionally, extravagantly, recklessly. That no matter what I do, or say, or think, no matter how far I may wander, He stands waiting and willing to welcome me with open arms. And not only does He wait, He pursues. He sends His Word, He pours out His love, He is a “Good, Good Father,” as Chris Tomlin sings.

Here are just a few of the sixty names of God and the meaning of each:

  •      Jehovah Rapha  (Our Healer)
  •      Jehovah Meqaddishkem (Our God Is Holy)
  •      Jehovah Nissi (Our God Is Truth)
  •      Jehovah Jireh (Our God Is a Gracious Provider)
  •      Jehovah Sabaoth (Our God Is a Watchful Defender)
  •      Jehovah Adonai (Our God Is a Loving Master)
  •      Jehovah Elohim (Our God Is All-Powerful)
  •      Jehovah El Shaddai (Our God Is All-Sufficient)
  •      Jehovah El Roi (Our God Is an All-Knowing, Ever-Present Help)
  •      Jehovah El Elyon (Our God Is the Supreme Sovereign)
  •      Jehovah El Olam (Our God Is Unchanging and Eternal)

As the ultimate sign of His love, He gave His only begotten Son to die for my sins, and for your sins, so that we may have not only eternal life but also an abundant life here on earth.

So today, I am thankful for God, for all that He has done for me!