Confident

Do you feel timid when you pray?

 

Do your sins glare before you

and get in the way of your relationship with God?

 

Do you skip it altogether

because you are altogether imperfect

 

to come before a perfect God?

 

Well, I can relate

 

But God has shown me

that something amazing happened

 

when Jesus became my Savior

 

He became my bridge

to God

 

His perfection

sacrificed for me

 

and His righteousness

imparted to me

 

and His white robe of sinlessness

put on me

 

Caused me to be able to approach

that great throne

 

with confidence

and freedom

and boldness

 

And it’s not because I had a sinless day

but because my sins have been washed away

 

And I look my Abba in the eyes

and I talk to Him

 

We are close

and I don’t need to be timid

 

because of Jesus

 

I confess to Him

what is not right

 

But I don’t feel the weight

of condemnation

 

Because I’m not condemned

 

I am free

 

– Susie Stewart

 

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

– Ephesians 3:12 (NIV)

 

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

– Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

 

It is also very comforting to us to observe that the God who hears prayer is enthroned and glorified. The God of grace sits upon the throne of grace and so grace reigns supreme at the place where God meets with us in prayer! The hands of grace are full of blessings through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ—and those hands are happily employed in dispensing royal largess among the poverty stricken sons and daughters of men! Come here, then, all you who feel your need of grace! Be not afraid to approach the throne of grace. Since Jesus Christ has taken upon Himself our nature and suffered in our place, the throne to which the sinner is bid to draw near is a throne of superlative, unlimited, reigning grace—grace that pardons; grace that regenerates; grace that adopts; grace that preserves; grace that sanctifies; grace that perfects and makes meet for glory!

– C.H. Spurgeon

 

…or He delivered us and saved us and called us with a holy calling [a calling that leads to a consecrated life—a life set apart—a life of purpose], not because of our works [or because of any personal merit—we could do nothing to earn this], but because of His own purpose and grace [His amazing, undeserved favor] which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago]…

– 2 Timothy 1:9 (AMP)

 

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

– Romans 8:1,2 (MSG)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Attachment

Our Lord did not teach detachment from other things:  He taught attachment to Himself.   Jesus Christ was not a recluse.  He did not cut Himself off from society.  He was amazingly in and out among the ordinary things of life; but He was disconnected fundamentally from it all.  He was not aloof, but He lived in another world.

– Oswald Chambers

 

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

– Hebrews 13:1 (NLT)

 

I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by Your truth; teach them Your word, which is truth. Just as you sent Me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give Myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by Your truth.

– John 17:15-19 (NLT)

 

A divided heart loses both worlds.

– A.B. Simpson

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Love Does Not Envy

Love does not envy…

– 1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)

 

Envying someone else’s life doesn’t make your life better like actually enjoying your own does.

– Ann Voskamp

 

It is a very human trait in us to feel that another’s advancement is in some way a blow to ourselves. It is equally a human trait to feel that another’s downfall and disgrace in some way adds a bit of luster to our own crowns. Of course, nothing could be more utterly false.

-Clovis G. Chappell

 

In some dispositions there is such an envious kind of pride that they cannot endure that any but themselves should be set forth for excellent; so that when they hear one justly praised, they will either seek to dismount his virtues, or, if they be like a clear light, they will stab him with a “but” of detraction.

-Owen Felltham

 

The cure for the sin of envy and jealousy is to find our contentment in God.

-Jerry Bridges

 

Whenever people are jealous or selfish, they cause trouble and do all sorts of cruel things.

– James 3:16 (CEV)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Goodness

 

God promises to work ALL things for the GOOD

 

for those of us who love Him

and have been called by Him

 

He takes our mistakes

our heartache

our everything

 

and brings purpose and good

 

Beauty from ashes

from all that happens in our lives

 

No exceptions

because of unconditional love

 

How unimaginably gracious!

 

 

So, what if you and I sought to do that

for people?

 

What if we were to respond with grace

when wronged,

bringing the good

to that situation?

 

And what if we loved

when it makes more sense

to hate?

 

And what if we took awful circumstances,

and inserted compassion

and truth

instead of criticism?

 

What if we responded with patience

when it isn’t warranted?

 

What if we sought,

by God’s Spirit,

the good

in everything?

 

What if we showed His goodness,

by His power,

with His Light,

in the darkness?

– Susie Stewart

 

 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

– Romans 8:28 (NIV)

 

…we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

– Romans 8:28 (MSG)

 

And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.

– 2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP)

 

To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.  In their righteousness, they will be like great oak that the Lord has planted for His own glory.

– Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)

 

Photo taken by Susie Stewart

 

 

 

Authentic

Throughout history, an authentic faith has been marked by a compassionate response toward those the world tends to forget.

~ Gary L. Thomas

 

This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.
Do this and the lights will turn on,
and your lives will turn around at once.
Your righteousness will pave your way.
The God of glory will secure your passage.
Then when you pray, God will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, “Here I am.”
– Isaiah 58:6-8 (MSG)

 

His is a loving, tender hand, full of sympathy and compassion.

– D.L. Moody

 

Biblical orthodoxy without compassion is surely the ugliest thing in the world.

– Francis Schaeffer

 

DSC_4803.jpg

 

Photos taken by Susie Stewart

Planted

Words…

above the ground

skimming the surface

never digging in

never planted

 

as opposed to

 

Words

piercing the dirt

lodging deep

roots and shoot ever growing down and up

planted and solid

 

It’s a picture of how

the seed of God’s Word

is meant to be cultivated

in you

 

Its effects powerful

causing you to flourish

 

Soaking in

Living Water

 

Let the Seed of His Word

take root

and transform

 

– Susie Stewart

 

…humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

– James 1:21 (NIV)

 

…In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.

– James 1:21 (MSG)

 

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.

– Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)

 

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

– Psalm 1:1-3 (NLT)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Photos taken by Susie Stewart

Up

 

I want don’t want to be grounded.

Hmm..

What do you do with that?  Grounded can take on different meanings.  The grounded I’m talking about may not be what you think.

This world has a way of weighing us down, almost as if it is pulling us deeper into the earth.  Troubles, trials, relationships gone wrong, the depressing things we hear on the news every day… it feels as if it has a downward pull.

God calls us to look UP.  He calls us to “set” our minds on things that are heavenly, peaceful, strong, gentle…… truth.  He is continually pulling us out of the muck and mire and setting our feet on solid ground or in spacious places (2 Samuel 22:20).  He brings us out of darkness into His unimaginable light.

My feet feel very weighted to the earth at times.  I allow the cares of this world to eat away at my thoughts and emotion, at my trust.  I am called to so much more!  “…because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ…”! (Eph. 2:4,5)

Over the years, I have often thought about what it means to “set your mind on things above, not on earthly things…”  I’ve assumed that Paul was referring to heaven.  I’ve never seen heaven, so at times I find it hard to set my mind on it, having never seen it and all.  But, for me, this verse has come to mean even more.

Look down….

earth, dirt, gravity, weightiness, troubles….

Look up….

Sky, heaven, weightlessness, peace, freedom….

I don’t want to be grounded.  I don’t want to be weighed down with the troubles of this world, but to trust in Light and Love and Mercy — Jesus!

He is above!  He is the Name that is “above every name” (Phil. 2:9).

He is up!

He is in me.

And when I soak Him in and I listen to Him and when I trust and believe and I focus on Him, I’m not so grounded anymore.  I feel lighter and more joyful.  I’m not so concerned with how the people around me are not meeting my oh-so-important needs.

May I only be grounded in your truth, Jesus.  Otherwise, let my feet be just above the ground because I trust in You.  You are working in and through me as I look forward to my forever home.

– Susie Stewart

 

Colossians 3:2  “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.”

1 Peter 1:13  “Be holy, therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming.”  

John 10:10   “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 16:33   “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Psalm 32:10  “Many are the woes of the wicked but the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trust in Him.”

 

Photo:  Susie Stewart