Suicide is no joke. And it’s not just that one legendary figure commits suicide and it’s on the map again. What about the nameless hundreds who go through the same amount of pain and suffering each day, and are so discouraged that they believe taking their lives is the most viable option?
It’s not easy. You can’t just say, “Get over it, it will be okay”. It takes one to know how much pain a person in depression goes through – the mental anguish and agony, the lack of hope.
Being a believer doesn’t make it all okay, and suddenly your whole day is smiles and rainbows. But as someone who has been there, I can tell you, when you have God on your side, you have this incredible amount of hope. It’s easy to get discouraged today, but this hope that God gives is no fantasy that is a wild goose chase. Because when you can’t trust anyone in the world, you can trust God. He doesn’t just promise, He delivers.
- I can guarantee you this, because you need to prepare yourself to open up to somebody here on earth. With God, you DO NOT need to prepare yourself. He wants you just as you are – scars, and all. He promises unconditional love, and that means He overlooks everything you have been through, and He wants you just as you are.
We are messengers sings this song “Point to You”, and he says:
I’m coming as I am
The only way I can
And you know what it’s like. But with God, the way you are – is perfect. He made you that way, after all.
- I can guarantee you this, because you just can’t explain what you’re feeling in its entirety to a person. They just wouldn’t understand unless they go through it themselves. But with God, there’s NOTHING to explain. He knows. He just knows, you don’t have to explain anything. He knows your innermost thoughts, and He’s been there too. At times like this, it gets really hard to pray, and He gets that too. Sometimes your just in His presence in tears, and He knows the meaning of each one, He understands the pain you’re going through. AND, He’s not judging you!
Jeremy Camp’s song “He Knows” always moves me:
How hard your fight has been
How deep the pain within
Wounds that no one else has seen
Hurts too much show
He knows every hurt and every sting,
He has walked the suffering
- I can guarantee you this, because I know it’s unfair and frustrating to speak to someone because deep inside you know they’re judging you. Sure, some people are sworn to secrecy, but can you really trust them? But with God, He DOESN’T judge you. God’s big on second chances and all that, but do you know what? When God forgives you, whatever it is, whatever you confide in Him, it’s buried deep under the ocean floor. Trust me; He’ll never bring that up again!
He’ll help you start anew, and He will NEVER look back. So you need to ask yourself, if God has forgotten it, who are you to bring it up again??
You don’t have to have to clean your act up before approaching God, because in case you didn’t know, He uses Broken Things! (Matthew West):
Now, I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true, You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.
- I can guarantee this, because the comfort the world gives you is next to nothing. But the comfort that God gives is out of this earth, literally! When God comforts you, you have a peace that passes all understanding! That means, you can’t explain that peace in any human terms. When God comforts You, just remember, The God that made the entire Universe, and all the galaxies, and all of space, has taken the time to care for you – a speck moving on a speck in a speck of a galaxy. Now, that’s something!
He’s asking you to come as you are, and join him, along with all the others, and BE FREE!:
Come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
There’s no one unwelcome here
So that sin and shame that you brought with you
You can leave it at the door
[Come to the table >> Sidewalk Prophets]
Give God a chance, you won’t regret it. He’ll give you an undying hope that will get you out of a tough time. If this has spoken to you in any way, I would consider you watch the ‘Exit’ movie (Link below). It will help you. Please remember, you are special, made one-of-a-kind, and you are someone worth dying for! You are someone who deserves unconditional love, and God loves you so much! He loves you enough to die for you. There is hope in Him. So, please, Please give Him a chance.
Everyone has tough days. You’ve probably stepped into a vortex of time where everything seems to be going wrong. Work is hell, you can’t seem to find a little bit of peace, maybe even family is falling apart, and your escape from reality just keeps you more socially estranged and keeps you from facing your problems. And you probably tell God that you’re doing the right things but everything you do seems to crash and burn. Why? You’re probably asking:
Where is God out in the darkness?
Cause the voices in my head ain’t talking honest
They’re saying maybe You made us then forgot us
But that ain’t You, that ain’t You
[The Day That I Found God >> Switchfoot]
You trust God too much to give up on Him. And you know better, you can’t deny God’s existence and your relationship with God just because of dark times. Paul from the Bible says: “God comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort others with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”
And also don’t forget: All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His promise.
So don’t be discouraged! Just keep going about doing the right thing like you usually do. Even if it feels like you’re not getting anything in return, just remember your reward is from God who will give ‘a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over’. J Just remember to put God at the center of everything you do.
So the next time you’re wondering: ‘does it matter at all?’, just remember
“It all matters just as long as you do everything you do
to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do
To bring a smile to His face
Tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do”
[Do Everything >> Steven Curtis Chapman]
Hope this brings a smile to your face 🙂 ]
It’s like Paul says: ‘whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’
And while you’re at it, here’s a beautiful song that will remind you to do it all for the glory of God 🙂
[official video unavailable. Beautiful listen nonetheless ^]
I came across a comedian on YouTube who (in the name of humor) performed a skit on the present-day Christian music scenario. The idea was that Christian music nowadays lacked meaning and was extremely generic, and it was easy to sign into a record if you could make vague references and obvious rhymes. They stressed that the music lacked diversity and the content was always vague. It also took a dig at how the bands and artists merely sought more publicity and marketing, with social media and merchandise. It was a satire obviously, and made for a few laughs.
As much as I love a good laugh, I couldn’t help internally resisting what the video claimed. Jokes and humor aside, I threw my mind back to a few months ago when I was way down under the weather. I was far away from home and struggling with an illness that drained me of all my energy. It was all the strength I could muster to plug in my earphones and get lost in my world of Christian music. I shared a room with five others, but on the inside I was so alone and depressed and terribly homesick. I would struggle back from work and flop on my bed and turn on my music – it was my only link with the part of me that was alive. It was the only source of my hope. In those moments where I was so alone and unwell, those songs I listened gave me strength and renewed my hope and faith in God.
I am surprised that a lot of people agree that the Christian music today has lost meaning and is generic and vague. I don’t know what they listened to but it’s a terrible shame to generalize and draw conclusions from a minority.
When a young girl from High school opened up about her insecurities from society’s labels and began questioning her real purpose, I felt there were so many reassuring words people could offer her, but all I could think of was this song by Mikeschair >> ‘Someone worth dying for’.
You are more than flesh and bone
Can’t you see you’re something beautiful?
Yes, you gotta believe
He wants you to see
That you’re not just some wandering soul
That can’t be seen and can’t be known
You gotta believe, that you
Are someone worth dying for
And frankly, as I thought of that last line I felt I would cry, it was so beautiful. Christ made us so fearfully and wonderfully and He loves us so much, enough to die for us! But she’s not the first person to hear me begin a reassuring answer with: “But there’s this song I heard last week…” I thrived on Christian music. It was something I could be absolutely real about, because it wasn’t fiction or a fairy tale, this is real life.
Now, is that vague or generic?
There are songs that I would listen to, and just know deep in my heart of hearts that the artist surely wrote the song inspired by God. These are the songs that reach out and hit you deep, you just know that it’s God’s voice talking to you. When I was in a period of darkness and depression, stumbling over struggle after struggle, I did question why this would happen to me; I just wanted to get closer, t the next level in my relationship with God. And, that’s when God sent me the song “Strong Enough” (Matthew West)
Maybe, maybe that’s the point
To reach the point of giving up
‘Cuz when I’m finally,
Finally at rock bottom,
That’s when I start looking up and reaching out…
Life is tough, and sometimes you go through some nasty trials. It’s easy to get your spirits low, but these songs, inspired by God, the Holy Spirit – these songs just boost and reassure you constantly that God is always looking out for you, that there is always hope, and you need to trust God’s way no matter how dark things look right now.
God’s way may not look all that attractive all the time. You may have been praying over something, maybe an illness, for a long period of time. Sometimes God’s answer is a ‘No’; sometimes He makes us go through the rough, with the promise that He will always be right there with us.
During those times, these songs really help reinforce our trust in God. Like the song says:
It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now?
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty Hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
(Even If >> MercyMe)
These are the songs that really build a firm foundation of trust in God, and help create a sound doctrine toward an unshakeable faith in God.
Going back to the video – it also poked some fun at the big bands like Newsboys and Casting Crowns. It’s not easy to get to the position these bands are in without some serious work. People obviously love the message and the songs these bands offer. I can only highlight that these bands have helped create some revolutionary anthems in a time where people are oblivious or indifferent to faith, and to God.
Songs like ‘God’s Not Dead’, ‘We Believe’ (Newsboys) and ‘Until the Whole World Hears’ and ‘While You Were Sleeping’ underscore some serious truths that people need to hear.
I always look forward to buying Casting Crowns’ albums, mostly because they reinforce the themes of each song with Bible verses. It forces you to whip out your Bible and re-evaluate your life and learn some life-changing promises God makes. Sound Biblical doctrine.
Not to leave out the Worship Leaders, but people like Chris Tomlin have provided strong, leading role models for youth today, with a Heart and passion for Christ. Let’s get real here; you obviously cannot undermine the role of good worship music in a relationship with God! Worship is definitely a lifestyle, and in those intimate moments of fellowship, what better to set the mood than some good worship music? Or else, we would be stuck playing the same songs over and over again to the point of boredom! Who would say No to some Worship music inspired in a heart full of God?
While the video obviously does not offend me, I personally believe that there is no point in criticizing, when you can’t offer something better yourself, right? It just feels right to defend something you feel close to.
[Sorry for the long post, but I hope it reaches out to you 🙂 ]
I was unfortunately diagnosed with a benign chronic illness after multiple, multiple tests. I did not personally mind, but it had inserted its awkward, ugly nose into my life, my academics and general well-being. As I lay down on a stretcher ready to enter a noisy dome for an MRI, I silently previewed the hectic past week. I had missed a whole lot of university hours and having to make up for it felt quite overwhelming. Unlike what most people would expect, I did not question God or show defiance. I did wonder why this had to happen to me, but I generally strung closer to God. For all my symptoms, most near and dear said it was all in my head, as I had all my previous tests return negative. They said that I was probably hiding something that was mentally disturbing and I had to defuse it so that it would relieve me of my illness. So, unbelievably, instead of being relieved that the tests were all negative, I was secretly hoping that one of the tests would show something – anything to explain how I felt, that it wasn’t all in my head. Of course I didn’t care what the others said – they weren’t experiencing the pain, the discomfort, the difficulty that I was facing. But I still had to know why I felt this way.
It had been a long two weeks. Every day was the same; I left early in the morning after a forced breakfast, in spite of the nausea. They said I was ill because I skipped breakfast. Yeah, right; perhaps you’d like a doctor’s degree to go with that piece of advice. Mostly I ended up throwing up that hurried meal. Then I’d be queued to meet the doctor, and those waiting rooms were not entirely pleasant. It just felt so unproductive to waste so many precious minutes in a doctor’s waiting room. And then I would meet the doctor, tell him my symptoms got worse everyday, and he would prescribe yet another test, bewildered as ever. By now I had lost most of my strength, I felt like a walking zombie and surprisingly enough, I still had good spirits.
So, as I was pushed into the MRI chamber, I told God, “This machine might be really noisy, but you know what? My mind is really calm. It’s really silent inside. I don’t care about any of this, Lord, I just want You to talk to me. It’s good enough over here.”
And as I looked into the piercing bright lights, I suddenly recalled a verse I came across about a month ago. It was Psalm 18:1. I had read most of the chapter but it was just the first verse – just one line that struck me then: “I will love You, O LORD, my strength.”
It’s just a small verse, which many would overlook. If you picked up a study Bible, it would have probably left out the explanation for this verse too. Perhaps, if I would have quoted the second verse it would have made more sense to some: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” But in that moment, I felt I could have spoken volumes and volumes on that one small line alone. When I told someone else, they weren’t all to excited about it, they couldn’t understand the depth of such an ordinary verse. Guess it takes one to go through it to understand what it means.
The Psalm was written by David, and if you saw the context, the subtitle to the Psalm reveals that it was written ‘on the day that the LORD had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.’
But overlooking the context, at that moment, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the tense that David chose to use. “I WILL love You…” It doesn’t take a grammarian to realize that one would normally use the word ‘I will’ in that context to indicate future tense. David could have just said “I love You, O LORD, my strength.” The fact that he chose to use this tense struck me hard. It was like a choice he was making even when he didn’t have to.
David was essentially saying – God, I will love You. Although it feels hopeless now, and I am a fugitive being chased around the wilderness by the King himself, with no security for my life, I will still love You; Because You alone are my strength. I have been dodging and scuttling about for weeks now, and this little army of men here, they have put their trust in me and I feel responsible for them too. I have to feed them too, even it means I go without a meal. So, Lord, I might be physically exhausted and weak, and on my own, King Saul can squash me like a little bug, but You are my strength. And I will love You because I know that You will get me through this. You called me when I was a nobody chasing sheep through the pastures, and You anointed me; I know You’re not going to leave me here, hanging on for life. You helped me beat Goliath, there is nothing You can’t do. I will love You.
David was thrown into a situation which would have left many questioning God and hurling their fist toward Heaven. David could have argued that he was such an innocent little boy who did nothing wrong, and while he chased sheep, he even spent the time to compose music praising and glorifying the great and mighty creator. He didn’t deserve any of this. But that day, he made a deliberate choice – “ I will love You, O Lord – even when I don’t have to.”
If you look into the second verse once again, you would notice all these different attributes that David bestows on God, but in the first verse, there is a very special quality that calls for emphasis which is recalled in the second verse again. Of all the features of God, David underscores ‘my strength’; Not ‘I will love You, O LORD, my rock’ or ‘I will love You, O LORD, my shield’, but ‘I will love You, O LORD, my strength.’ David realizes that the Lord was always a shield and a rock and a fortress. In the end, God would always save the day. But for David, his rock, fortress, shield and deliverer were all God. But when David called on God as his strength, it was not all God alone, but it was God through him. It was special because it revealed how God used him, and worked through him – David was empowered through God. The other attributes were all God – independent of who David was.
David was constantly pushed through life, belittled, and generally made to feel inferior. When the prophet Samuel visited David’s father Jesse, he asked to see all of his sons to select God’s appointed to be the next king. Even then, David didn’t qualify his father’s attention as king-material. Standing before the giant Goliath, David probably felt like a beetle. When confronted by King Saul, David said that he was merely a dead dog, a flea who was not worth the king of Israel’s attention. David was humble so much so that the thought of having the mighty Yahweh on his side was overwhelming.
Of all the ways he could have begun that psalm, David chooses his words from an overwhelmed heart: “I will love You, O LORD, my strength.” It was not just physical weakness that David was implying but the deep emotional and spiritual weakness as well. In spite of his close escapes and brushes with victory, he admitted that he was weak, and in need of His savior, who was the strongest. He understood that he was nothing without the LORD.
So as I lay there in that bright chamber, I did not have to be strong, I did not have to prove myself to anyone, God was on my side, and in all my weakness and my frustration, the LORD was my strength. And even if everything seemed hopeless and dark now, I would still love the LORD, my strength. And that was all that mattered.
When every step is so hard to take
And all of my hope is fading away
When life is a mountain that I cannot climb
You carry me, Jesus carry me.
You are strength in my weakness
You are the refuge I seek
You are everything in my time of need
You are everything, You are everything I need.
[Everything I need >> Kutless]
“The hurt that broke your heart,
And left you trembling in the dark,
Feeling lost, and alone
Will tell you hope’s a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow…”
Can sin cause heartbreak to the believer?
Do you know what AGONY is?
It is a constant struggle and wrestle with pain and suffering – specifically mental anguish.
Anguish is the reflection on evil that is already past, while agony is a struggle with evil at the time present.* Luke 22: 44 gives an example of the Savior Himself in such a situation.
“And being in agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Jesus is borne up in His hour of greatest need, when He must intercede not only for Himself but for His followers, who are about to leave Him in the lurch. The AGONY he endures reflects the intensity of His struggle not so much with death itself, but with His destiny to be made the sin-bearer for all mankind for all the ages. The punishment that had to be borne for our sins brings Jesus to His knees in anguish.
But Jesus was blameless.
Then what does the word mean in our lives – as sinners?
In Romans 11: 16, 17, Paul uses an allusion to talk about the promise to the Jews and Gentiles. The root of the tree, in this example, is the covenantal promise to Abraham, which anticipated blessing to Jew and Gentile. Israel’s essential nature is Holy (despite all the sins they commit) because they are set apart for God’s purpose. They are the chosen. The allegoric first fruit is Abraham and the branches refer to Israel individually. When some of the branches are broken off, Israel is set aside but there is a remnant. The Gentiles do not displace Israel; they merely partake of “the root and fatness of the olive tree”. When God is finished with the gentiles, He will reinstate Israel. Israel was set aside because of unbelief. The Gentiles have favor because of their belief. Therefore they should not be proud.
Israel was God’s first love, the apple of His eye. No matter what the Israelites did, how much ever they flouted God’s commandments, God still chooses Israel. National salvation will come to Israel. This is the ultimate fulfillment of the new covenant (Jeremiah 31: 31-34). And, this will be realized when Jesus returns to the Earth to set up His kingdom. God has set aside temporarily for the sake of the Gentiles, but He has not forgotten them because of the promise to the fathers, that He will deliver them from sin. That just shows the extent of God’s unconditional love. God has temporarily set aside Israel, so they are in constant “agony” (for the past couple decades).But God will never leave Israel.
For anyone who has accepted God as their Savior, He never forsakes us or lets us down. Even if we have backslidden in our faith or have sinned against God; if we repent, God is ever-willing to take us back into His loving embrace. But, He is a just God. Instead of leaving one to eternal damnation because of sin, He ensures that our punishment is fulfilled on our life in Earth. He gives us another chance at life, and best of all, we get to spend eternity with Him.
It is a difficult time to get over a sin even when we are committing ourselves to the Lord, begging for forgiveness. The guilt that we are overwhelmed with is easily misused by Satan into thoughts that God has forsaken us, and that Hope is an unachievable concept.
“When hope is more than you can bear,
And it’s too hard to believe it could be true.
And your strength fails you half way there
You can lean on me, and I’ll believe it too
And in time, you will believe it too…”
You need to remember that Jesus died on the Cross for your sins even before you were born – He died for your sins that you have already made and the sins that you are going to do. The reassurance of forgiveness does not encourage a lifestyle of sin. As Paul says in Romans 6: 1-3, “… Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?… so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” We are constantly encouraged to live blameless in the Lord and the Holy Spirit continues to convict us in our Spirit.
“I want you as you are, not as you ought to be
Won’t you lay down your guard and come to Me,
The shame that grips you now is crippling
It breaks my heart to see you suffering
‘Cuz I am for you
I’m not against you
If you wanna know how far My love can go
Just how deep, just how wide,
If you wanna see how much you mean to me
Look at my hands, look at my side
If you could count the times I’d say you are forgiven
It’s more than the drops in the ocean”
Don’t beat yourself up. Everyone makes mistakes. Some can be life-altering. But give yourself a chance. I know God did.
* – Taken from M. G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897.
More of You >> Colton Dixon
Adam Cappa posted this as his Facebook status on 09 April, 2014 (Wednesday), and I just had to share this:
“Girls & guys, I’ve seen a lot of you talking about wanting a Godly relationship in order to learn how to follow Christ. I want to encourage you that it’s not a Christian man/woman you need to meet to teach you about who Jesus is and how to live like him. It’s Jesus himself you need to meet. No one can ever replace who Christ is or should be in our life’s. Place Him first above all things and he will honor you in that. We are told He will give us the desires of our hearts. Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” So if it’s a godly relationship you seek, then honor Christ first and let Him provide for you. Your identity can only be found in Christ; not in an unequally yoked relationship. 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” Meaning, believers should date other believers; not try to date someone to make a believer out of them or yourself. “Missionary dating” will most likely, always result in heartache and drama. Focus on your relationship with the Lord and trust Him to provide for you. He knows exactly what it is you need and desire. Instead of trying to always find the “perfect” person to fix you, start working on being the perfect person. It’s starts with Christ. “ – Adam (Cappa)
“I just can’t sleep. It’s way too hard! It’s impossible! Every time I close my eyes, I’m reminded of that horrible past… I can’t get over it! I have changed now but I can’t get over what I did… How could I? And now it’s creeping into my waking hours as well – everyday, some small occurrence takes me back, traumatizes me! No matter where I am – a small incident, the look on someone’s face, a familiar location – everything reminds me of that! It’s way too hard for me to get over…
Dear Lord, I have surrendered my everything to you, I have come a long way from my sin but I still can’t get over it. The sins of my past keep haunting me and prevent me from seeking you wholeheartedly. Everytime I come into your presence I feel this weight in my heart – a weight of guilt and regret. Lord, I’m sorry for everything I have done. I’m trying to lead a new life in You and trust in You as my strength but the past is holding onto me like strong chains. Lord, please help me…”
Have you ever been in a similar situation? Or maybe you just continue to live in regret and have not sought the Lord yet. Well, the Lord has better news for you. You remember when Jesus Christ died on the Cross? He dies for ALL of your sins – even before you were born. What’s more – He died for the sins of all mankind – the sins of the past, of the present and those that were yet to be committed. That was the whole purpose of His sacrifice. When you commit your life to Christ, ALL of your sins are forgiven and forgotten. They’re on the Ocean Floor. They do not have to haunt you any more.
When we do something wrong, however, the Holy Spirit convicts us so that we realize our mistake and ask the Father for forgiveness. God’s grace and mercy is unlimited and they are new every morning. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [I John 1:9 (KJV)] In Romans 5:20, Paul says that where sin abounds, Grace abounds much more. But this does not mean that we should keep sinning so that God’s grace may keep abounding. It does not work that way. Whoever is baptized into Christ Jesus is also baptized into His death (Romans 6:4) so that just like Jesus rose from the dead, we also are raised to live in the newness of life. So when our old man (Romans 6:6-7) is dead, we are freed from sin.
What this all means is that, Jesus did not die only for “nice” people. He died for everyone even those who did not want Him and those who rejected Him. That was God’s amazing love speaking. No one who genuinely loves Christ would want to continue living in their sins – especially when those sins cost Jesus His life. How can any believer glory in what God hates? Before we came to Christ, sin was in control of us and we were its obedient slaves. However because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we obtain that power to live for God. One day, the sin that still dwells in our unredeemed bodies will be eradicated completely. Until then, we are to draw on the power of the Spirit to put to death the sin that still wants to express itself, and obey God for His glory.
Do not worry about your past sins, God has forgiven them! And when the creator of the entire Universe has forgiven them, who are you to hold onto them? Forgive yourself. Move on. Hold onto the Spirit to give you strength to continue living a life in Christ free of sin. Casting Crowns and Audio Adrenaline say it much better. Our sins are cast away from us as far as the East is from the West. How far is the East from the West?? From one scarred hand to the other. Truly. Beautiful Metaphor.
[This YouTube video was uploaded by user ‘TheGospelTrain‘]
The mistakes I’ve made
That caused pain
I could have done without
All my selfish thought
All my pride
The things I hide
You have forgot about
They’re all behind you
They’ll never find you
They’re on the ocean floor
Your sins are forgotten
They’re on the bottom
Of the ocean floor
All my greed
All the things that haunt me now
They’re not a pretty sight to see
But they’re wiped away
By a mighty, mighty wave
A mighty, mighty wave
Your sins are erased
And they are no more
They’re out on the ocean floor
Take them away
To return no more
Take them away
To the ocean floor.
And that’s why we can say “I’m forgiven! I don’t have to carry the weight of who I’ve been, ‘Cause I’m forgiven”
“Well, the past is playing with my head, and failure knocks me down again. I’m reminded of the wrong that I have said and done and that devil just won’t let me forget.
In this life I know what I’ve been but here in Your arms, I know what I am!
I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven! And I don’t have to carry the weight of who I’ve been ’cause I’m forgiven!
My mistakes are running through my mind and I relive my days in the middle of the night when I struggle with my pain, wrestle with my pride, sometimes I feel alone and I cry.
When I don’t fit in and I don’t feel like I belong anywhere… When I don’t measure up too much in this life, Oh, I’m a treasure in the arms of Christ!”
Just a couple of posts ago (Click here to view post), we saw the essence and benefit of Absolute Surrender. We saw how we need to adopt an attitude where we are ready to accept all the challenges that come our way so that we finally result in the masterpiece that God wants us to be. Sometimes, this may dampen the spirits of new believers, as they fear anticipating an outcome or the future. But, honestly, once we have committed absolutely everything into the Hands of God, we can be sure that He will take care of the outcome, and He will make sure that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8: 28 NKJV)
Even if we say,
“Let the waters rise, if you want them to,
I will follow you, I will follow you.”
We can be assured that:
“Though the waters rise
They will not pull me under
When the mountain slides
And crashes to the sea
I will lift my eyes and call out to You, Father
Be my covering”
God is always on our side. He will immediately come to our rescue and be our covering. You can count on Him. Bebo Norman’s ‘Be my Covering’ strikes the nail right on the head; with a moving combination of his modulated voice, soul-stirring message, and amazing music, this song can raise your spirits or move you to happy tears. It will increase your confidence in the power of our Lord, and best of all, it reinforces the message: “DON’T GIVE UP, OUR LORD IS COMING TO HELP YOU!!”
You are deeply, sincerely loved, with an unconditional love that passes all understanding. It’s true.
[This YouTube video has been uploaded by user ‘joelmnoah’]
“This was written as both a really personal song and as a sort of global prayer – it tells a story that I think people who live anywhere in this broken world can understand. We wrote this at my lake house down in Georgia – a peaceful and quiet place. There’s so much unrest today, so much turmoil, from natural disaster to war, so we’re praying in this song that the peace we felt in that setting by the river – the peace of Christ, really – can truly become something global. I think that’s one of our primary calls as believers – to hope for hope for this world.” – Bebo Norman [Source: JesusFreakHideout]
In the early years of our faith, we usually are boosted by our pure untainted ‘first Love’ to the Lord. But as we grow much more in faith, we tend to get complacent. It happens to most of us, most of the time. Besides, you are not alone if you say that you have always thought back to your first love and wished things could be the same as they were then. You probably say that you miss the closeness you had in your relationship with the Lord.
Then, you probably begin to voluntarily involve yourself in as many church ministries as you can – Helping out in Sunday School or providing technical aid support at your church; or you sponsor some popular minister or volunteer to join the Worship team at your church or probably involve yourself in one or other Church-related activity.
That’s all perfectly fine – but how many of us actually involve ourselves with the attitude that it is going to bring us closer in our relationship with the Lord? Or do we merely do these things in order to prove something to ourselves or put on a ‘holier-than-thou’ masquerade in front of others? Indeed, some of us do want to be seen as a better and much ‘holier’ person than the next. But in the process, are we not destroying our purpose of getting closer with the Lord?
Jesus calls us to different things. And the Lord always has His own timing. In due time, we will all be pushed towards our calling to fulfill our earthly obligations. However, we often aim for these higher things and bigger obligations that appear more glitzy and glamorous, thinking that we are doing this for the Lord. But are we faithful in the small things in our life – our smallest callings?
Jesus says, in Luke 16:10 (NIV), “Whoever can be trusted with a very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
Let’s reflect… Do we read our Bibles daily? How much time do we spend in the presence of the Lord – giving thanks, praising and interceding for our brothers and sisters who have yet to find the Lord… If we are not faithful in these little things, how could we expect God to use us for bigger things?
We sing a lot of songs and most of the time we just say things that we don’t mean. We need to get down to the basics – until we are faithful in these little things, it is too far-fetched to expect God to use us in a much higher calling.
When we talk about being faithful in small things, this does not mean that we only read our Bibles regularly and pray regularly. It means that the Lord becomes so engrained into our being that it would be impossible to imagine existence without Him. It is the kind of childlike faith where God is always on our mind. God should be at the ‘Center of it all’. And the best part is this: Once we are honest and faithful in our calling and interest, God automatically becomes the center of it all. When God feels the passion within us to Love Him and serve Him more, He automatically becomes the center of everything we do. We will spontaneously put God into all our actions and the decisions we make. Chris August’s ‘Center of it’ portrays that interest where God becomes the center of everything we do.
[From ‘chrisaugustmusic’ on Youtube]
God is more than just a priority. He should be the very heartbeat of all the things that we do, think and say. God is the reason why we still move and breathe. He is at the very core of our existence. Don’t you think He deserves more than what we have given Him today?
I was sure by now that You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away, Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”, but it’s still raining.
>> As the thunder rolls,
I barely hear You whisper through the rain, “I’m with you”
And as Your mercy falls,
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives, and takes away
I’ll praise You in this storm, And I will lift my hands
You are who You are, no matter where I am
Every tear I’ve cried, You hold in Your hand
You’ve never left my side, and though my heart is torn…
I will praise You in this storm
I remember when, I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry, You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone, how can I carry on
If I can’t find You
I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth.
We have often come across the term “Absolute Surrender”. Something like that would mean giving up everything without control over anything. As believers, that is exactly what we do when we accept Christ to be the President of, and Resident in, our lives. When we surrender everything into God’s hands, we are telling Him to take it all and use it toward His Glory. At the same time, our surrender should be ABSOLUTE – we can’t say, “God, I’d like you to look after all these things in my life except THIS. I think I know pretty much all about this to handle it just fine…” – that would be exerting control and would hinder God’s absolute, perfect plan in our lives.
When we surrender completely into God’s hands, He is going to shape us into perfection – into the masterpiece that He wants us to be. He is going to shape us to be more and more like Him. Consider it this way – God is going to ‘chisel’ away all the unwanted ‘deadwood’ in our lives. Now chiseling is not exactly a pleasant experience – it might even be a painful experience – but what is really important is the end result in which we become masterpieces in the wonderful workmanship of our Lord. ‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’ Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
Revelation 3:19 says: ‘I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.’ (NLT) It is only because of God’s love that He rebukes from our wrong doing and sets us on the right path. We need to accept this ‘pruning’ so that we can grow in the right path according to His will.
Sometimes, this ‘chiseling’ and ‘pruning’ and ‘correction’ can work up quit a storm in our lives. At these points of time, we need to stick firm to our refuge – our Lord – or else we may be blown away by the storm and go astray. But once we realize that the storm we are in is for our own good, we will be able to accept it all the more easier. As human beings, we tend to ignore the bigger picture and focus merely on the present. When we focus on the Lord and cling firmly to Him, He will help us to grasp that bigger picture and help us through the storm.
Sometimes these storms come into our lives in order to bring us down on our knees, reminding us of our weakness and our dependence on the Lord.
We need to adopt an attitude where we are ready to accept all the challenges that come our way so that we finally result in the masterpiece that God wants us to be. We need to understand that it is for our own good, and that no matter what storms may breeze through our lives, we will not be shaken and continue to follow the Lord.
Mikeschair’s song ‘Let the waters Rise’ says it best:
“There’s a raging sea, right in front of me;
(It) wants to pull me in, bring me to my knees,
So let the waters rise, if You want them to,
I will follow You, I will follow You…”
When the children of Israel were initially rescued from Egypt, they were mere ‘children’ in terms of Spiritual growth as well. They were yet to encounter the miraculous, wonder-working hand of God, as they would wander through the wilderness for 40 years, under the leadership of Moses. This is precisely why their encounter with the first obstacle to reaching Canaan – crossing the Red Sea – did not take much of “doing” on their part. (Read Exodus 14) They did not need to set forth a shout of worship that would cause the mighty waves of the Red Sea to part, making way for the multitude of the children of Israel to cross. It took mere obedience and patience. The Lord responds to Moses: “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” (Exodus 14: 15, 16; NKJV) The children of Israel were merely asked to go forward, and everything would open up for them accordingly.
As they progress through the wilderness, they meet other obstacles – bigger ones. These other times, they are seen to be tested on their spiritual growth as well. They were not merely children any more. They had to be grown spiritually as well. When it came to bringing down the great wall of Jericho under the leadership of Joshua, it took a lot of “doing” – This was what the Lord asked them to do: “March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” (Joshua 6: 3-5; NIV)
And that is exactly what “Worship” was all about. It was the humble obedience to the voice of the Lord and it was claiming the Powerful, mighty name of the Lord. A loud shout was uplifted to the Lord because of the victory He had already given to them. The Lord’s presence was heavily present that day.
Fast forward around 2000 years later, when Jesus Christ was crucified on the Cross. It was foretold through prophecy in the Old Testament that the Messiah (Jesus) would return to Earth, and He would die for the sin of all mankind. This was the foremost reason that Jesus came to Earth – to redeem us and unite us once again with the Father. For this, Jesus gave up His life as a sacrifice for the entire human race. In the Old Testament, it is necessary for a sacrifice to be made for the remittance of sin. It is equally important that the sacrifice is pure, clean, sinless and free from all blemishes. In the Old Testament, the Sacrifice was usually a young newborn lamb – pure, white and free from blemishes. When it came to the sin of all mankind, it required a sacrifice of the same magnitude to be offered – Which is why Christ was the perfect sacrifice. He – God – came in the form of a human being mingled with us, set forth an example and to redeem mankind once again. Although Christ came in human form, he was sinless and blameless. He was conceived through the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. He would be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all mankind forever.
God, the Father, out of His incredible Love for mankind sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die for the iniquities of all mankind. In His life on earth, Satan tempted Jesus, willing for Him to slip up and sin. Satan even used Scripture to argue his case. But, the Lord Jesus Christ, ever victorious, triumphed over sin and temptation, by taking hold of the Word of God and responding wittily, with greater authority to Satan.
At 33 years of age, it was finally time for the Lamb of God to be slain. Satan felt victorious – he had convinced a group of Pharisees to plot the death of Christ with the help of an insider, a betrayer – Judas Iscariot. The deed had to be done, and Christ was willing for the will of the Father to be implemented. Jesus was full of love and forgiveness toward everyone – even His torturers. He was tortured and put on a Cross to die.
A couple of Jesus’ followers (not His 12 disciples), took down His body from the Cross, and laid Him to rest in a tomb. For the time, it seemed as if the darkness had won – Satan may have rejoiced that night.
Jesus’ disciples may have felt sorely confused and uncertain. Till then their Rabbi (Master) had constantly been with them and guided them. If they were at all confident then, they were really uncertain now.They felt like sheep without a shepherd – they did not have anyone to guide them. All appeared to be lost. Or so it seemed…
On the third day, miraculously, according to prophecy and the Will of God, Jesus rose from the dead! Even Death could not hold Him back. Our Lord is all-powerful, and victorious. There is nothing that can defeat Him or put Him down. OUR LORD IS ULTIMATE.
Even the Grave could not hold Him in. Jesus Christ is now risen from the grave, and has conquered sin and death. What’s more – He’s given US the power to overcome sin and death as well. Our Lord cannot be defeated – because He wears the Victor’s Crown. No matter what may happen, our God always triumphs!
Satan may seem strong for a moment, but our Lord is stronger. There is nothing above or beyond Him. The Word of God also claims so. (Luke 11: 21, 22) “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil.” If Satan is the strong man, Jesus is the stronger person who will shatter Satan by his foundation.
Darlene Zschech brings out this aspect of our all-powerful Lord, who wears the Victor’s Crown. The song is so powerful and was co-written by some of the renowned worship leaders of our time – Darlene Zschech, Kari Jobe and Israel Houghton.
From personal experience, I have come to believe that every one of us, as believers, will come to a point when we reach rock bottom – reach the depths of hopelessness – when there is absolutely no way out of the situation we are in. God has a plan even in these times. He knows our full potential, and He knows us better than we know ourselves. It is because of this that He deliberately makes us undergo this trying time. It is only when we hit rock bottom – hard! – that we stop looking around and look up, reaching out for divine help and guidance.
It’s kind of funny that we sometimes think we are strong and big and all these materialistic aspects just creep into our lives. When we reach rock bottom, however, none of these things seem to matter. When we look up at this great, awesome, mighty God, we realize that we’re actually Nothing compared to Him. We’re smaller than a speck of dust that makes up the entire universe. The most amazing part, however, stands in the fact that this great, awesome, powerful God actually cares about us, and actually takes the time to talk with us and feel our pain and provide us with comfort.
I felt internally compelled to share my testimony today, and it is out of personal experience that I say almost every believer goes through a point in their lives when they hit rock bottom and finally turn to the Lord. It is at this point of time when we indulge in a bond and relationship with the Lord like never before. It is at this point of time that we reach the most humble peak in our lives (if you have probably been through this situation, you know what I am talking about – You’re completely broken and in the depths of weakness and depression and you’re just bracing for what’s going to hit you next). And then we just cry out to the Lord in total surrender, “Lord, I just can’t do it anymore, it’s more than I can handle. Lord, I am so weak, don’t you see? I can barely move another step forward, and I see this huge mountain in front of me. I’m expected to cross that mountain, Lord – how can I? I barely have enough strength for another step! Lord, I’m broken, down to nothing, but I’m still holding to the One thing – that You are God and You are strong when I am weak. This Life – this battle – this mountain that I have to climb, Lord I can’t! Carry me, Lord! Carry me…”
And that’s what the Lord does, He just carries us over that mountain – the next moment you know, you are on the other side of what appeared to be a huge, un-climbable mountain. When we humble ourselves to nothingness, the Lord gently lifts us up, out of the depths of our sorrow and pain and struggle, and He just takes us to greater heights that we could never even have imagined before. It’s in our weaknesses that He shows Himself to be Strong. Stronger than we could ever imagine.
And there is so much comfort in His presence; God is so loving, tender, merciful and patient. He remains with us every step of the way, no matter what we go through. And we can always call out to Him in all our times of needs. He never fails us.
It was when I was going through a trying situation as this, that I felt God speak to me through Matthew West’s song – ‘Strong Enough’. That’s when I realized that God sometimes makes us go through trials and hard times, only to reunite with us in a closer way than ever before.
“Maybe, maybe that’s the point,
To reach the point of giving up.
‘Cuz when I’m finally, finally at rock bottom,
That’s when I start looking up and reaching out.”
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength,
I don’t have to be strong enough, strong enough…”
During my baptism, God miraculously spoke to me through His word. At that point of time, I was so weak and emotionally broken, I was ready to give up the fight. But I just put my Hope in God and asked Him for the strength to continue. I wanted to surrender everything to Him, because I couldn’t take it any more. I felt like I had to handle this burden on my own, like I was alone in my battle. And I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. That’s why I took Baptism. I told God, “Lord, I’m willing to do anything for You. I would even lay my life down for You, but I need You now, more than ever. I need you to carry me through this mountain and get me to the other side. I need You to be the Strength in my weakness. I need You to show Your power through me…”
And after my Baptism, at the Service, God miraculously spoke to me through His word. He gave me a wonderful promise. His words were:
Isaiah 41:10 (KJV) –
“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.”
For anyone else reading this now, it may seem like just another promise from the Bible – nothing significant. Or you may even think that it was probably just a well-timed coincidence. But I beg to differ. I had never come across this verse before. And at that moment when I was completely broken and was begging God to take over and be my strength, these words were such an amazing miracle in my life. I cannot express the joy I felt in words. It’s something you can only experience to realize its intensity.
I was completely overwhelmed. I always had fears and doubts to the extent where I would question God. And even before I was given the promise, I had been praying exactly that: “Lord, I am very weak and so afraid. I can’t do anything on my own, and I am a big sinner who is in no way worthy of speaking to You. Yet, with your awesome power and tender mercies, You have given me this chance… God, I need Your help – so bad! I am completely, totally, entirely dependent on You, and yet I am so afraid! Lord, help me! Please, help me…”
And that verse was like an answer to my prayer! It was so amazing! I’m so happy that first, God chose to speak to Me – an insignificant, tiny human being, and that He would use such choice words. Honestly, more than my baptism, or a clean slate to start over on, that unforgettable verse is what made my day, and changed my life.
Baptism is a wonderful chance to start out on a clean state as you are burying the “old man” (Romans 6:6) when you are immersed in the water. It is an outward display of the change brought upon you when you accept the Lord into your heart. It is a way of displaying your decision to the world. Baptism gives one the qualification to partake in the Holy Communion, additionally. It is a wonderful process and Jesus himself set an example when He took Baptism at the hand of John the Baptist.
Jimmy Needham’s “Yours to Take” best portrays the feeling that accompanies Baptism.
This is my second chance, This is no song and dance:
You came in and renewed a right spirit!
This is grace at its best,
This is taking a restless, messed up heart and having you clear it
I can feel the weight is lifting, I’m barely staying on the ground
And I can feel the wait is over, Finally the lost is found!
>> So, this is what it feels like to live life
So, this is breathing air for the very first time
The Son of man, He came here to give life
And in return He asking for mine.
Well, I’ve Been captured by grace, I’m not going away,
I’m Yours to take.
I was down for the count, I was all but knocked out,
When I heard pardon for the interruption.
Then like out of blue, Out came glorious You,
You picked me up with barely any introduction,
You won my heart by a landslide, You tend to do that every time;
So, everything I have is Yours now.
Even my very life!
Your kindness leads me to repentance,
Leads me to the cross, which leads me to forgiveness
So, I’m counting it all as loss…
The Change Inside of Me >> Mercy Me
[This YouTube video has been uploaded by user ‘livin4Jesus]
Pardon me, If I’ve been acting strange,
I haven’t been myself lately.
What you see, Is a person rearranged,
Someone affected me greatly.
And I’ve got so much to say,
Ever since Jesus looked my way.
Your life You gave for mine to save,
Its nothing less than a miracle.
Your name I praise, because the change inside of me is so beautiful.
“…So many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death… Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life… our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” (Romans 6: 3, 4, 6-9)
Legendary Gospel composer Albert E. Brumley wrote:
“This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
Indeed, this is the hope that believers live in. The Earth is not our home – Heaven is. The Earth can be seen as many things. Hebrews 13:14 says “For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come.” (NLT).
Hebrews 11: 13-16 (NIV) says:
“… admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
We are not of the world, just like Jesus isn’t a part of this world (John 17: 16). [Also see Philippians 3: 20, 21]. Everyone will agree to a statement like: “There’s no place like home. Home sweet Home” The City Harmonic says it best, in their song “I Have a Dream (Feels Like Home). I can promise you, this song will give you goose bumps. Home – a place where Love is True, but in this love, He finds you. It’s a place where everything is alright. It is a beautiful place – a symphony of Peace, where we will be together as brothers and sisters – free at last. This song will make you long for home. 5 stars.
This world is not where we belong. We are merely “aliens” and sojourners on a foreign land. We have been planted here on Earth for many a reason. It is a test of our Faith, before we enter our heavenly home. Or, you could see it as a short vacation away from home. But one thing’s for certain: “All I know is I’m not home yet, This is not where I belong. Take this world, and give me Jesus, This is not where I belong.”
Where I Belong >> Building 429
MercyMe is one band that writes a lot about going back home. Can you imagine it? It’s the most beautiful place you can think of – in fact, far beyond your imagination! The 21st chapter of Revelation clearly describes Heaven as we may see it. Imagine: Walls made of Jasper, a city of pure gold, all kinds of precious stones, there will be no sun or moon because Jesus would be the lamp shining at all times; there will be nothing impure, shameful or deceitful. It is a beautiful place where there will be no more crying or sorrow, and ultimate peace. Most importantly, we will be reunited with our Savior, the master and sole love of our lives. There could exist nothing greater than that moment. All the angels and heavenly beings will be constantly declaring God’s praise, and we would spend eternity with our Savior – every single moment – in praise, adoration and worship.
Imagine that moment when we will get to meet our Savior. It’s indescribable – the feelings that will run through us. What will your reaction be? What will my heart feel? Will I dance for You, Jesus? Or in awe of You be still? Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing Hallelujah? Will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine…
I Can Only Imagine >> MercyMe
Doesn’t that already make you long to go home, away from this place of sin, shame guilt and all the carnal things of the world? Have you ever wondered what you would do when you reached home finally? Perhaps MercyMe’s ‘Finally Home’ is a close enough description…
Finally Home >> MercyMe
I’m gonna wrap my arms around my daddy’s neck and tell Him that I’ve missed Him; And tell Him all about the man that I became and hope that it pleased Him; There’s so much I want to say, so much I want you to know…
When I finally make it home…
Then I’ll gaze upon the throne of the King, frozen in my steps; All the questions that I swore I would ask, words just won’t come yet; So amazed at what I’ve seen so much more than this old mind can hold…
When I finally make it home…
And the sweetest sound my ears have yet to hear voices of the angels…
When I finally make it home…
All this talk about ‘Home’ kinda makes one ‘Homesick’…
Homesick >> MercyMe
[This YouTube video has been uploaded by user ‘Darwin Bonilla’]
However, the first step we took Homeward, was when we accepted Christ in our hearts. That’s the greatest decision one can ever take as a turning point toward home.
Everybody hopes that maybe somewhere down this road, we’d finally find that place where we belong; That place where we’re complete, the one that occupies our dreams, that place we’re lucky to call our home.
The best part is that we have arrived at this place – the moment we accepted Salvation’s free gift and let God in us. That’s the moment when we have arrived, and there’s no way we can keep this inside…
Where I Belong >> MercyMe
[This YouTube video has been uploaded by user ‘Fisher ofMen’]
Finally Home >> Kerrie Roberts
Like we saw in the last post, God’s compassion and love towards is so infinite. He loves us no matter where we are – or where we go. His gift of Salvation on the Cross is complete and all-encompassing. When Christ died on the Cross that day, He demonstrated God’s forgiveness of Sin – ALL kinds of sin. We, therefore, cannot go around judging if a sin is big or small. God forgives Sin – that means all sin.
And the amazing part is that God still forgives us. Indeed there are times when we listen to the wrong voice and go astray, wandering away from the Lord in paths that we think is best. However, God always creates some signal and gets us back on track. Usually, we always wander away into trouble, and then begin to fall – deeper and deeper – till we hit rock bottom. And quoting Matthew West, “That’s when I start looking up and reaching out”. When we do reach this point of realization in our lives that we just cannot do it without God’s help – we would lose anyway and there would be no point to the fight – we come back to Him. We return with guilt and shame and probably reek of sin, and we probably expect God to completely leave us in anger and walk away. But No, that isn’t God’s nature at all!
God is Love. Regardless of all our past misdeeds and iniquities, when we just speak the word “Lord, please forgive me”. Right then, right there, God has forgiven our sins and forgotten them. Despite our unpresentable, hopeless condition, He just runs towards us, embraces us and just shows His unconditional love towards us. Indeed, He has forgiven us completely and like Audio Adrenaline says, “Your sins are forgotten, They’re on the bottom of the ocean floor.”
Remember the story of the Prodigal Son in Scripture. That’s the real Father we are talking about. John Waller’s ‘Still Calls Me Son” pictures that amazing moment when we try to return home, heavy with guilt and shame. But the Father awaits with open arms, eager to welcome the lost prodigal back into His fold. This song says it better than anything.
Jeremy Camp’s “Take You Back” also wonderfully talks about that infinite compassion that our Father has. He is ALWAYS ready to take us back into His fold and redeem us – regardless of our follies and transgressions. He takes the battle as His own and tells us, “Child, relax. I’ve got this one.” That’s the kind of compassion and kindness our Father shows us.
The Lord promises – “I will not fail you, nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5 – KJV) and “lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20 – KJV) There is absolutely nothing in the world that can take us away from God’s unconditional love. In Romans 8: 38-39, Paul says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)”
I Belong >> Kathryn Scott:
There is no one who is perfect. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 – NIV) and “There is no one righteous, not even one;” (Romans 3:10 – NIV). There is no sin we commit that God cannot forgive. When Christ died on the cross around 2000 years ago, he paid the price for all of our sins. With His gift of Salvation, we can enter into His presence with pardon for our sins. Within the context of human nature, it is impossible to remain Holy, although we can strive to be. However, it is in God’s perfect plan that we are made to be completely dependent on Him. We can do nothing without Him. Even when we back slide but return to Him, He awaits us with open arms, as He is the only one who can undo what I’ve become.
Undo >> Rush of Fools
[This YouTube video has been uploaded by user ‘Richard Mayhan’]
In the book of Lamentations 3:22 and 23, the prophet Jeremiah says, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”
Think about it. It is very simple, just putting it out there – maybe once in a week, a Sunday probably, where you just head out to church and mumble a ‘Thank You’ to the Lord an return. But think about it. Amidst everything – our joy, our strife, our peace, our pain – amidst EVERYTHING, God has just shown Himself to be Able and strong.
Examine that chapter in Lamentations. As the title of the book exhibits, the entire chapter mourns and laments defeat, sorrow and pain. However, in verse 21, the entire chapter takes a turn. “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.” In the midst of all the suffering, the strife, defeat and sorrow, just one thought – “God is still in control” – This thought just boosts all the courage in the speaker to move on.
And truly, no matter what our difficulty, we would not be alive here if it were not for His mercy. You may think that the problem facing is you is so great, that you cannot handle it; but in I Corinthians 10:13, the apostle Paul says that “There hath no temptations taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” And, our God is faithful in ALL His works; He will never let you down.
Within this context of God’s infinite mercy, we see God’s amazing, compassionate Love. His Love is so unfailing and complete that God stands as the Epitome of the greatest, unconditional love. He loves us not because of what we do but because GOD IS LOVE. He loves unconditionally, despite all our misdeeds and iniquities. His love and mercy toward us is so amazing that He is there for us at ALL times, no matter what situation we are in.
Phillips, Craig and Dean’s “Mercy came running” portrays this unconditional Love of God.
“When I could not reach Mercy, Mercy came running to me.” This one line just sums up God’s amazing, tender compassion. His love for us is never failing. Even when we don’t have the strength to reach out to Him, He reaches out to us.
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Rhett Walker Band does an amazing job of revisiting that first day of Salvation, when Mercy came looking for us – lost sinners. It’s a beautiful description of that moment of Salvation:
“In one moment, everything changed, who I was got washed away,
When Mercy found me.
My Savior’s arms were open wide and I felt Love for the very first time,
When Mercy found me.”
No matter where we’ve come from or what we have been through, God’s Mercy is so infinite and everlasting, it’s always there. And it is so tender – It just raises us from rock bottom and carries us through the harsh ordeals of life into that place of unimaginable Love and healing. It is only God’s mercy that keeps us alive and breathing today.
As believers, even when we backslide, God’s mercy continues to pursue us, hoping for us to return to that First Love in Christ. God’s love for us does not fit into boundaries – it is infinite and He just waits patiently for us to return to Him. He promises to never leave us or let us go. He is always there for us. We may feel like we let God down so many times in our lives – but today, God says that in this relationship, it is never us who is holding God up. It is God who carries us and holds us up; we can never let God down at any point of time. Even today, He still waits with open arms for us to return to Him and accept His compassionate Forgiveness.
The Lord loves you SO much, you couldn’t possibly even imagine it!