Saturday, January 28, 2012

Verse 4 of 52!

My fourth verse for this count-down is Romans 5:15:
"But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one, many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift of grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."

God's grace is so amazing!! I love the words to the hymn "Grace Greater than Our Sin:" 

(Words by Julia Johnston)
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt.
Yonder on Calvary's mount out-poured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

Sin and despair like the sea wave cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss.
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the Refuge, the the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look there is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today!

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?

Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within!
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Praise God for His wonderful, matchless grace that saves sinners like me!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday - Soli Deo Gloria

Soli Deo Gloria
(To God alone the Glory)
Previously published with a newsletter for girls, Incorruptible Beauty

Perhaps one of the greatest composers in the Baroque period was Johann Sebastian Bach. His life was one filled with music. He was not only a master organist and harpsichordist, but was also well-known for his musical compositions. For a man as great as Bach, it would seem natural for him to credit his accomplishments to a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice. However, on his sacred music, he humbly wrote “J.J.” at the beginning and “S.D.G.” at the completion of each piece. These are abbreviations for “Jesu Juva” (Jesus help) and “Soli Deo Gloria” (to God alone the glory). Even though Bach was highly esteemed, he still acknowledged that Jesus was the only One to Whom he must go for help, and that God was the One to receive all credit for his works. What a testimony!

There will be many times in this life when we will have the temptation to credit ourselves for the work we do. Paul charges us otherwise, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:1-3) It is only our duty to follow God’s leading. If He, in His abundant grace and mercy, leads us to be famous or great in any way, our thoughts, words, and actions should always point to our Creator, Who gives us the very strength to live. May our hearts ever repeat the phrase “Soli Deo Gloria.”

Friday, January 20, 2012

Verse 3 of 52!

This week, I continued my memory of Romans 5.

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come." (Romans 5:14)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday - Saving Our Gift

Saving Our Gift
Originally published on my family's blog in October 2010

One word that sends a thrill of excitement through any girl is the word “wedding.” Most of us cannot wait for that special day when we shall become the wife of a handsome young man.

The first “wedding” took place in Genesis 2, when God brought Eve to Adam to be his wife. Eve was a gift to her husband just like each of us girls will be a gift to some young man. How special it will be for our dad to walk us up the aisle and present us as a gift to our husband.

Here, we must stop dreaming and ask a sobering question: in what shape will this present be when our husband receives it? I do not mean will we be slender and attractive; we must look deeper – on the inside. Will our heart be pure and reserved only for our husband? Or will we be tattered and worn from living a life of “play” with every handsome young man we meet?

If you picture a gift, you might think of a beautiful package with shiny, unmarred wrapping and ribbons tied at the top. Change this picture to a young girl. She is pure in heart with innocence hovering over her like ribbons. This young lady reaches her early teens and her perspective of life changes. She notices that there are handsome, likeable boys that are more than willing to give her attention. So, she dangles a ribbon in their face, tempting them, saying, “You want to get a peek of what I’m like?”  This is called flirting. Many boys react to this flirting by accepting the young girl’s offer. Often, this step is repeated again and again, until the ribbons are all frayed, tattered, or torn from pulls by young men.

As a girl gets older, she begins to “date around” to find her husband. Instead of living a life of peace and contentment, her life is filled with worries about “Will he like me? What if he breaks up with me?” In the meanwhile, her wrapping is getting soiled and perhaps torn in places.

Finally, “Mr. Right” comes and the girl proceeds to her wedding. When her husband receives this gift on their wedding day, it is no longer the beautiful package we first saw – pure and innocent – with clean wrapping and delightful ribbons. Instead, it is marred and in need of repair. What godly young man would like to receive such a gift?

For those of you, who have not dangled your ribbons before boys; let me challenge you to stay pure! Do not worry about “catching” young men’s attention!! Instead, focus on serving the Lord and let Him bring your future husband to you. Purity is a gift that once opened, can never be re-wrapped in the perfect way it was before.

For those of you who have already spent your life flirting and worrying about attracting boys, may I challenge you to consider the path your feet are taking you! If the Lord is asking you to save your heart for the one young man that will become your husband, please hearken to Him! He will forgive and mend the broken heart and is so ready to help your feet find a straighter, safer path on which to travel.

“Keep (Guard) thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:20) You have a precious gift in your hands . . . will you purpose to keep it pure and clean for your husband?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays - "It's Just a Blog"

I have greatly enjoyed writing for various blogs and online magazines in the past year, and I thought that I would re-post some of those articles here. Though I might not be able to hit every Thursday, I would like to share what I can.

If you would like, you can grab my "Thoughtful Thursday" button as well!!

It's Just a Blog
Previously published with Bloom! Magazine in October 2011

In the past year, I have browsed through dozens of blogs; some of you more avid blog-hoppers might have hit hundreds or even thousands of blogs. But let us narrow it down to that one blog – your blog. Out of the millions of pages on the world-wide-web, it is just one. One little place to pour out your thoughts, hopes, dreams, convictions, fears, laughter, and life. Your blog reflects either who you are or who you want to be.

So . . . what if I obtained your blog URL and hopped on over? What would I see? What should I see?

Let us jump to the last question. What should be on our blog? I mean, it’s just a blog. Matthew 5:26 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  (KJV) I believe that a blog is an excellent place to shine! Not just shining, though – for we can shine in “look at how amusing, funny, and entertaining I am” – shining for GOD! When others look at our blogs, what do they see? Are they simply entertained, or are they encouraged in their walk with Christ?

What is our blog content? Can we pray Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer?”  Or are we too busy making our words acceptable in a friend’s sight? God is a follower on our blogs. He sees every little sentence, every JPEG image, and even the motive behind each post. Is He seeing something that pleases Him and brings glory to His Name, or is He seeing posts that daily have lost opportunities to share Him with others?

Maybe in considering these verses, we need to also consider a revamp. As Christians, our blogs need to reflect Christ! As sisters in Christ, our blogs need to encourage one another in the Lord! Are we faithfully serving God with our blogs, or are we satisfying our selfish desires? Yes, our blog is “just another blog,” but we can use it as an avenue to spread God’s love! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Verse 2 of 52!

Verse 2 in the 52-verse challenge is the following verse in Romans 5:

"For until the law, sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is not law."
Romans 5:13

What does that big word "imputed" mean? I found it helpful to see another verse about sin and the law. "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law." (1 Corinthians 15:56). It is because of the law that we know what sin is - in fact, the law is considered our school-master: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3:24) Because we have broken God's law, we were slaves under the law . . . until . . . God gave His son Jesus and sent the free gift of salvation (see Romans 5:15)! We can repeat with David, "Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." (Psalm 32:2)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Verse 1 of 52!

My first memory verse for the 52-verse challenge is Romans 5:12. My goal is to complete memorizing Romans 5 in the next few weeks/months . . . so with God's help, that's what I'll do!! :)

"Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." Romans 5:12

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