hopeful anticipation of his goodness

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 {re}focus – day eighteen

Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”


{Steven Curtis Chapman – God Is It True (Trust Me)}

thoughts:

God presented Mary with a very unusual situation. Her life was radically about to change. God, through the angel Gabriel, shared his plans for humanity and Mary was a part of it. She already had her life mapped out…marriage, a new life with Joseph, but God had to stir things up. Life was made a bit more complicated, a little more confusing. What God was asking of Mary was difficult and uncertain.  But Mary understood what faith required.  She didn’t wrestle with her thoughts, she didn’t question His purpose. She believed, she set aside her plans, and she said yes. Her sweet heart was sensitive enough to know His plans could be trusted.

I wish I was more like Mary. If I was put in that position I probably would have responded much differently. You see, I’m a questioner. I have such little faith. I’m not very good at simply trusting God right away. I have to deconstruct the situation. I have to look at it from all angles, wondering how to act, how to respond.  I ask too many questions. ‘Why does this have to happen this way? What does this mean? ‘ I question God’s goodness when life is difficult. I struggle with his sovereignty when life is uncertain. Instead of having the faith of a little child, I have to wrestle before the Lord with my doubts. Oh how I wish I was more like Mary. Where my trust is without hesitation, where my heart responds with peace and hopeful anticipation for the revealing of his goodness. Do you struggle with believing God, knowing he can be trusted with your life?

 Sometimes God leads you to do things that are not what you planned for yourself. You may have to let go of what you’ve hoped for, opportunities you thought were best. God may take you down a road that looks like nothing you have ever seen before. He may require you to change jobs, move far from home, or go through difficulties you wouldn’t choose to go through. Whatever comes our way in life, we have to remember God is with us. He didn’t leave us alone. He sent his Son for these very moments of uncertainty. That’s why we are celebrating his birth. He loves us, he wants the best for us.  He can be trusted.

photo by kivett photography

i will declare that your love stands firm

IMG_6397{re}focus – day seventeen

Psalm 89:1-8

I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’

” The heavens praise your wonders, LORD, your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD? Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.

Who is like you, LORD God Almighty? You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.


{big daddy weave – overwhelmed}

quote:

When we lift our inward eyes to gaze upon God we are sure to meet friendly eyes gazing back at us, for it is written that the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout all the earth. The sweet language of experience is “Thou God seest me.” When the eyes of the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, heaven has begun right here on this earth.
― A.W. Tozer

 

in love he gave

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{re}focus – day sixteen

John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.


{bethany dillon – you are on our side}

question:

It is my deep hope that if you have not yet accepted Jesus’ gift of grace for your life that you will not hesitate a moment longer. Do you feel like you are wandering around through life, yearning for hope, meaning, and peace? It is only in Jesus that you will find purpose, peace for your heart, and direction for your life. You are enough. Right where you are- you are loved deeply by the God of the universe. If you feel the pull on your heart to know Jesus, please pray in the quietness of your heart. Ask him to reveal himself to you. That he would illuminate his love for you in a real and tangible way. Accept his love, the free beautiful gift of forgiveness and grace today.

For the ones who already walk in step with the Lord- I want to lovingly challenge you. Have you done everything in your power to reveal the wonderful love of Christ to those near and dear to your heart? Have you lived your life as a testimony of His goodness? Have you allowed God’s glory to shine through your weaknesses to show the world what he can do for those who put their trust in him? Step out…love courageously. Let your day-to-day living shine with the love he so freely gave to you- a sinner saved by grace. Not in words only- but radiating brilliant joy of hope to those you do life with.

Praying for you, dear friend.

if you want to make a commitment to Jesus Christ today, please click on this link : finding peace with God

the light of your goodness

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{re}focus – day fifteen

Isaiah 60:1-3
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.


{Nichole Nordeman – You Are Good}

thoughts:

These last fifteen days pouring over advent scriptures has caught up with me. I am overwhelmed with God’s goodness. It is too much for me to articulate. My finite little heart is bursting at this moment. All that Jesus endured was for me. I am able to walk in freedom from sin and shame. I am not bound to the guilt of my past. His grace has shined light onto my dark, lost heart. I’m touched deeply by his goodness. I once was lost, but now I am found in the light of his love. My words seem so meager, my grateful praise seems but a whisper compared to the majestic declaration of his love for me.

 Thank you, Jesus.

precious cornerstone

 

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{re}focus – day fourteen

1 Peter 2:4-9

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.


{Tim Neufeld (feat. Audrey Assad) – Cornerstone}

thoughts:

Ephesians 2:19-22, in the Phillips translation, the apostle Paul writes:

So you are no longer outsiders or aliens, but fellow-citizens with every other Christian – you belong now to the household of God. Firmly beneath you is the foundation, God’s messengers and prophets, the corner-stone being Christ Jesus himself. In him each separate piece of building, properly fitting into its neighbor, grows together into a temple consecrated to the Lord. You are all part of this building in which God himself lives by his Spirit.

shine

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{re}focus – day thirteen

Ephesians 5:8-14

 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”


{Bethany Dillon – Let Your Light Shine}

prayer:

Thank you sweet Jesus that you are the Light in this dark world. I am so very thankful for illuminating my heart with joy and hope.  I no longer have to stumble through life. May my life burn with the brightness of your glory. Please show me areas that may be holding back your brilliant message of hope. I want to reflect your goodness, your love, and your mercy.

Amen

Don’t shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you others can see Him. -C.S. Lewis