Come Boldly

Reverence, yes

Timidity, no

 

Because of Jesus,

we can come boldly

before the God of the Universe

 

Not because we are so good,

but because Jesus was,

when He laid down His life

for us

 

We approach the glorious throne,

our Abba Father,

with the confidence

of a child loved and forgiven

for everything

 

If we hesitate,

we have not yet grasped

what love did

for us

 

– Susie Stewart

 

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)

 

Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

– Hebrews 4:15,16 (MSG)

 

Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

– Ephesians 3:12 (NLT)

 

Because of Your unfailing love, I can enter Your house; I will worship at Your Temple with deepest awe.

– Psalm 5:7 (NLT)

 

The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.

– Proverbs 28:1 (NLT)

 

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.

– Hebrews 10:19 (NLT)

 

Photo by Becky Cohen

Wait & Hope

Waiting is hard for me.  It’s not my forte.  I like to get things done quickly.  Boom.  Done.  My writing, too, is usually short and to the point.

But the Lord has called on me to wait.  And wait.  And wait some more.  This is often His way.

I find myself wanting to sprint out ahead of God.  To take things into my own hands.  He lovingly grabs ahold of my “suspenders” from the back and places me behind His lead.  He is my teacher.  And on Him, I need to wait.  He sees eternally into the future.  And His wisdom is beyond my comprehension.

Waiting and trusting and hoping –  all wrapped up in the package of obedience. To this, He has called me.

– Susie Stewart

 

But as for me, I will look expectantly for the Lord and with confidence in Him I will keep watch; I will wait [with confident expectation] for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.

– Micah 7:7 (AMP)

 

Like the faith diggers do every day. We bury our swollen prayers in Him who’s raised from the tomb.

We lay our hope, full and tender, into the depths of Him and wait in hope for God to resurrect something good.

Good always necessitates long waiting.

Every tulip only blossoms after cold months of winter wait. Every human ever unfurled into existence through nine long months of the womb waiting. And the only kingdom that will last for eternity still waits, this millennia-long, unwavering-hope for return of its King. Instead of chafing, we accept that waiting is a strand in the DNA of the Body of Christ.

That this waiting on God is the very real work of the people of God.

– Ann Voskamp

 

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

– Psalm 27:13,14 (NIV)

 

So the Lord must wait for you to come to him
so he can show you His love and compassion.
For the Lord is a faithful God.
Blessed are those who wait for his help.

– Isaiah 30:18 (NLT)

 

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him,
to the one who seeks Him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.

– Lamentations 3:25,26 (NIV)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

No Other Truth

The truth of the Gospel works on so many levels.  Though some will argue that God does not exist and that man is the highest form in the universe, they will still strive for a moral code.  Challenge them to find a better moral code than that which is outlined in the New Testament.  Ask them to compare it to the other systems of morals in the world:  those of atheists, other religions, or political systems.  You will have to know it well to spell it out, but have them compare the law of love to all other philosophical systems and challenge them to show you a better one.  Ask them to come up with a better moral low than the Golden Rule of “Treat others the same way you would want them to treat you.”  Ask them to show you a country where innovative breakthroughs emerge where Christians are not in the majority.  Discuss the list of great scientists and achievers of all time and see how many of them were Christians or Jews or at least believe in God’s existence.  Do the study yourself.  Look at the top ten people of the last millennium and look at their beliefs and accomplishments.  Newton, Gutenberg, Michelangelo, Luther, Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, and others you will find on any list of important people of the last one thousand years.  They all had tremendous faith in God.  Look at nations that have tried to exist without God:  the Soviet Union, China, Albania, Vietnam – which of these has been as successful as those that built their foundations on the laws of the Bible?

But then you will have to add that even though this is a great philosophy, it cannot work without its power source.  Man has no motive to be “good” without gratitude to a Savior who granted they should not have to suffer of their own sins.  Without the love of God in their hearts to motivate them to put the needs of others before themselves they will ultimately act selfishly despite what philosophies they hold on to.  The views of Marx and Lenin sound like they are a solid formulation for heaven and earth, but their applications have brought more hell than any other.  What brought this about?  When those in power saw that they could do whatever they liked and tried to force others into a mold of service to the state, selfishness took over and whenever convenient they began to reword their philosophies to justify their own selfish desires.  To free ourselves from cultural restraints to rise to a higher and better system seems a great idea, but such cultural revolutions in the Orient have done little but bathe their countries in blood.

– DC Talk & Rick Killian

 

For not only does sound reason direct us to refuse the guidance of those who do or teach anything wrong, but it is by all means vital for the lover of truth, regardless of the threat of death, to choose to do and say what is right even before saving his own life.

– Justin Martyr

 

For by whom has truth ever been discovered without God?  By whom has God ever been found without christ?  by whom has Christ ever been explored without the Holy Spirit?  By whom has the Holy Spirit ever been attained without the mysterious gift of faith?

– Tertullian

 

I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  the only way to the Father is through Me.

– John 14:6 (NCV)

 

He must increase, but I must decrease.

– John 3:30 (ESV)

 

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

– Psalm 103:8 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

Discipline

A child disciplined

in love

cries

but knows

that love cares about the child

love cares about the sin

love cares about refining

and loves cares about humbling

so the child

will be lifted up

in honor.

– Susie Stewart

 

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

 

 

For the LORD disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.

– Hebrews 12:6 (NLT)

 

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor.

– 1 Peter 5:6 (NLT)

 

For the Lord corrects those He loves,
just as a father corrects a child in whom He delights.

– Proverbs 3:12 (NLT)

 

I know, O Lord, that your regulations are fair;
You disciplined me because I needed it.

– Psalm 119:75 (NLT)

 

I correct and discipline everyone I love. Take this seriously, and change the way you think and act.

– Revelation 3:19 (GW)

 

God is interested in developing your character. At times He lets you proceed, but He will never let you go too far without discipline to bring you back. In your relationship with God, He may let you make a wrong decision. Then the Spirit of God causes you to recognize that it is not God’s will. He guides you back to the right path.

– Henry Blackaby

 

Love precedes discipline.

– John Owen

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

His Words, My Delight

Does the Bible, this ancient document, thrill you?

Do you know that it is timeless?

 

Do you understand the treasures

that await your heart

if you will only commit to pick it up

and read it?

 

Do you know that true peace is possible

found in His Words?

 

What a loving, amazing God we have

that He would share His heart

and His truth

with us, His beloved.

 

Do you want to be firm and grounded

with your roots deep

in the soil of truth?

 

Do you want to be well-watered, growing, thriving

and not hopelessly withering?

 

Open this ancient,

timeless,

God-inspired book.

 

Find Eternal God in the pages.

Find salvation for your hurting soul.

Find hope forever.

 

– Susie Stewart

 

* There are many translations of the Bible.  I grew up using both the KJV (King James Version) and NIV (New International Version) of the Bible.  I tend mostly toward the NIV and NLT (New Living Translation) these days, although I look into many different translations online at Biblegateway.com.  The MSG (Message) version is a modern paraphrase that can word God’s truth in a way that is closest to how I talk.  I take it as a paraphrase and not a literal translation, much like a pastor would paraphrase a portion of Scripture he reads.  Whatever your translation, make sure that it is accurate and not a skewed version (i.e. – Mormon version of the Bible).  Online Bible tools are very helpful.  Websites like Biblegateway.com and YouVersion.com give you access to so many tools and searches. I utilize them a lot when writing my blogs.

Regardless of how you get into the Word, get into it!  And stay in it!  The Lord blesses those who delight in His Word.

Find your salvation in Jesus, trusting Him to save you from your sins, paying for all of them on the cross, conquering sin and death.  You can have new life in Him!  Ask for His forgiveness of your sins and accept His free gift of eternal life.  The Scriptures will open up to you in a new and powerful way.  A.W. Tozer says, “The Bible is a supernatural book and can be understood only by supernatural aid.”  God’s Spirit must help you understand and soak up Scripture.

Let me know if you have any questions.  I’d be glad to communicate with you about salvation, God, the Bible…

Read and mediate on the Bible’s life-giving words!    ~Susie

 

Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

– Psalm 1:1-6 (NLT)

 

Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.

– Psalm 1:2,3 (MSG)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

7 Days A Week

 

 

Sunday best

Dressed

 

Outer Core

Impressive

 

Inner sanctuary

Ragged

Calloused

Dirty

 

 

Weekday shabby

Dressed

 

Outer core

Forgettable

 

Inner sanctuary

Lovely

Sincere

Honorable

 

7 Days A Week

A heart

knowing God is observing

not

the outside

but the in

 

And that

is the focal point

of existence

 

– Susie Stewart

 

People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

– 1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)

 

“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

– Jeremiah 17:10 (NLT)

 

…Grant forgiveness according to each person’s heart, for You know the heart of every man. You, and only You, know every heart

– 1 Kings 8:38-39 (VOICE)

 

Sitting across from the offering box, He was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called His disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.”

– Mark 12:41-44 (MSG)

 

And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.

– 1 Chronicles 28:9 (NIV)

 

…for He knows the secrets of every heart.

Psalm 44:21

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

Trust

Trust in God

is not

feeling assured

that He will keep me

from all harm and disappointment

 

It is believing with confidence

and depending on

who He is,

that He loves me completely,

and that He truly works all things

for my good

– Susie Stewart

 

If the basis of peace is God, the secret of peace is trust.

– J.N. Figgis

 

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

– Romans 8:28 (AMP)

 

This means that we trust all that the love of God does;  all He gives, and all He does not give;  All He says, and all He does not say.  To it all we say, by His loving enabling, I trust.  Let us be content with our Lord’s will, and tell Him so, and not disappoint Him by wishing for anything He does not give.  The more we understand His love, the more we trust.

– Amy Carmichael

 

O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge.

– Psalm 62:8 (NLT)

 

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust Him.

– Psalm 91:1,2 (NLT)

 

Those who trust in and rely on the Lord [with confident expectation] Are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but remains forever.

– Psalm 125:1 (AMP)

 

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)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Immersed

You will hear lies

coming from within

and from the outside

 

And it is infinitely important

that you immerse yourself

in Truth

 

For if you hear the lies

about you

or God

or life

and you can’t recall Truth

 

You just might believe

those lies

 

So immerse

saturate

drown yourself

in Truth

 

It’s about life or death

for your mind

for your heart

for your soul

– Susie Stewart

 

…Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

– 2 Corinthians 11:14 (NLT)

 

Let the words from the book of the law be always on your lips. Meditate on them day and night so that you may be careful to live by all that is written in it. If you do, as you make your way through this world, you will prosper and always find success.

– Joshua 1:8 (VOICE)

 

How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt. Be blessed, God; train me in your ways of wise living. I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth; I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it.

– Psalm 119:14-16 (MSG)

 

May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

– Psalm 19:4 (NLT)

 

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

– Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Joy

Are you familiar

with Joy

these days?

 

Is Joy a companion to you?

Or a stranger?

 

Has your Joy been

stolen

snuffed out

fleeting

stifled?

 

Has busyness

or shame

or self-hatred

or the weight of the world

stolen your Joy?

 

Maybe you forgot

about Joy?

 

Who has time for Joy?

 

In God’s presence

there is Fullness

Abundance

Overflowing

Joy

 

More of Him

brings more Joy

and

more contentment

 

You’ve got to have

the Joy-Giver

in your Joy pursuit

 

And if You aren’t finding joy in Him

so many

many

things

will steal your Joy

 

 

Know Him

Praise Him

Be grateful for being ransomed

 

Know Joy

in His presence.

 

– Susie Stewart

 

 

I will shout for joy as I sing Your praises; my soul will celebrate because You have rescued me.

– Psalm 71:23 (VOICE)

 

After grief for sin there should be joy for forgiveness.

– A.W. Pink

 

What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.

– A.W. Tozer

 

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

– Romans 14:7 (NLT)

 

This is a good life—my heart is glad, my soul is full of joy, and my body is at rest. Who could want for more?

– Psalm 16:9 (VOICE)

 

Instead, You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life. As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending, and I know true joy and contentment.

– Psalm 16:11 (VOICE)

 

Photo by Arik Stewart

Higher Still

You say you don’t know why

and how He could let it happen

 

And you try to understand,

to know what He’s thinking

 

But His thoughts

are so beyond

 

And His ways

not even in range

 

So we trust that He Is

I AM

 

 

and that He took our fallen selves

and loved us still

 

He took our brokenness

and provided hope

 

He IS our Hope

and our mercy’s hand

 

He IS our Lifeline

 

And though we don’t understand

or comprehend His ways

 

We can know

He is our Answer

 

All questions are shrouded

in the glory of who He is

 

– Susie Stewart

 

How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!

– Psalm 147:5 (NLT)

 

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so My ways are higher than your ways
and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

– Isaiah 5:8,9 (NLT)

 

Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of His understanding.

– Isaiah 40:28 (NLT)

 

God stretches the northern sky over empty space
and hangs the earth on nothing.
He wraps the rain in His thick clouds,
and the clouds don’t burst with the weight.
He covers the face of the moon,
shrouding it with His clouds.
He created the horizon when He separated the waters;
He set the boundary between day and night.
The foundations of heaven tremble;
they shudder at His rebuke.
By His power the sea grew calm.
By His skill He crushed the great sea monster.
His Spirit made the heavens beautiful,
and His power pierced the gliding serpent.
These are just the beginning of all that He does,
merely a whisper of His power.
Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of His power?”

– Job 26:7-14 (NLT)

 

“Indeed, through His own gracious revelation of Himself, we can understand God in part, but we can never fully comprehend Him, or even a single one of His qualities. There will always be more of His wisdom to understand, more of His power, more of His holiness, more of His love. We will never fathom Him, and we will never tire of Him. Through all eternity, we will look upon Him and marvel at the endlessly creative, wonderfully gracious, uniquely righteous, timelessly beautiful, unsearchably glorious, infinitely loving Maker and Ruler of all.”

– Kevin Hartnett

 

When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place—

what are mere mortals that You should think about them,
human beings that You should care for them?

Psalm 8:3,4 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart