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God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:19-22 CEV

bread-of-life

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."  In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. Luke 22:19-20

Lord, help me to remember, that my freedom and my eternity and my life were purchased by your body and blood, by your death i have life, by your punishment i have forgiveness.

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1

THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  Romans 5:1 AMP

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Ephesians 3:12

In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear). Ephesians 3:12 AMP

“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7

In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses (shortcomings and trespasses), in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favour.  Ephesians 1:7 AMP

God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:19-22

*** more communion thoughts

 

 

ordinary people.

the bible is filled with them.

shepherds.

fishermen.

tax collectors.

tent makers.

farmers.

mothers.

 

ordinary people that have left a mark on history – not because of their own life – but because they lived for One who is Extraordinary.

my life is part of the amazing story that Jesus is weaving throughout all of history – from Adam to me God is telling the story of love, grace, power and redemption.  though i am ordinary i am priv’d to be part of God’s extraordinary purpose to demonstrate His reality.  in my everyday life i can choose to live in my little kingdom or embrace the potential of the Kingdom of God.

 

The biblical model is that God deliberately chooses imperfect vessels — those who have been wounded, those with physical or emotional limitations. Then he prepares them to serve and sends them out with their weakness still evident, so that his strength can be made perfect in that weakness. ~ Undaunted || Christine Caine

 

 

{

ps.

even my everyday tasks, though mundane, can be lived as worship to the King of Kings.  washing. dishes. luxing. making school lunches.  helping with homework.  tshirts.  jeans.  flats.  pony tails. 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

}

 

 

my life may be ordinary in the eyes of the world, but in the eyes of my family i am extraordinary valued.

to those i love my life has incredible purpose.

i am on mission.  an ambassador for Christ. i am not living to write my own story, but living for HIS story.

THIS is my life.  in this moment.  in the domestic-ness. in the joy.  in the pain. in the victory.  in the defeat.  in the opportunity.  in ministry.  in this minute.  this is my life and i have a choice how i will live it and who i will live it for.  

 

my life may be ordinary, but it will, if i choose to live it wholeheartedly, generously, gracefully, leave an indelible mark on eternity, as God works through me.

 

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  Colossians 3:1-2

 

live not limited by ordinary but realize that God loves you and has created you and positioned you for His purpose, plan and glory.  He is extraordinary through you.

 

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bread-of-life

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."  In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. Luke 22:19-20

Lord, help me to remember, that my freedom and my eternity and my life were purchased by your body and blood, by your death i have life, by your punishment i have forgiveness.

 

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1

THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  Romans 5:1 AMP

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Ephesians 3:12

In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear). Ephesians 3:12 AMP

“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7

In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses (shortcomings and trespasses), in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favour.  Ephesians 1:7 AMP

God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:19-22

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You used to be far from God. Colossians 1:20

 

once i was lost.  i was unacceptable and unwelcome.

once i was a stranger and rejected and rebellious.

 

God himself was pleased
to live fully in his Son.
And God was pleased
for him to make peace
by sacrificing his blood
on the cross,
so that all beings in heaven
and on earth
would be brought back to God.

You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things.  But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.  Colossians 1:19-22

 

once i was lost.  now i am found.

once i was a stranger.  now i am a friend.

once i was a rebellious sinner, now i am holy, faultless and innocent.

 

Ephesians 1:5 NLT says this: God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

 

You have been welcomed into God’s family with all the benefits and protections and rights and blessings of been a daughter of God.

 

The Message puts it like this: Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.  Ephesians 2

 

 

Evangeline, my darling 7 year old daughter, wrote me this beautiful letter a few months ago:

To Claire, I love you because you are lovely. You are lovely because you are loved.

 

It’s like that with God. He says you are lovely. You are lovely because you are loved by the Creator of the Universe, the one who breathed out the stars, who holds the universe in the palm of His hand, who designed zebras and butterflies and hummingbirds. You are lovely because God says you are.

Do you hear that?

You are a daughter of God!

Welcomed.

No shame.  No rejection.  No performance required.  No refusal.  No indifference.  No condemnation.

We do not have to live in the shadow of our past! We have been set free and redeemed and welcomed into the family of God!

Your past has no power of you because the cross cancels the junk and the guilt. Jesus heals. He redeems. He calls you by name. He declares you’re innocent. No matter what you have done or what has been done to you – God declares us not guilty and opens His arms wide to receive us, to welcome us. Nothing can disqualify us from His love.

Amazing things happen when we come home to God.

 

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

 

esp relevant today is that today marks the first day of being part of a Leading & Loving It Virtual Community Group – a group brimming with welcome and connection… cant wait to see what God does in and to and through this bunch of women!

#FiveMinuteFriday free write time! <—click to tweet this!

Five Minute Friday is a feature over at Lisa-Jo Bakers TALES FROM A GYPSY MAMA blog.  i first read about it on my friend Fee’s blog and thought it sounded fun!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready?

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The people kept their distance while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.  Exodus 20:21 MSG

Moses was the rare individual that would not settle for knowing the acts of God but he desired to know His ways. While there are many who will stand at the bottom of the mount wanting someone else to climb the mountain to meet with God and relay the information. There are few who will climb-(exert effort), press past fear and preconceived notions and disappear behind the cloud. It is there that a man meets God. All were invited but only one ascended. Only one who came back with the radiance of God still shining upon him, only one who spoke with God face to face as a friend. The mountain and the invitation awaits ….. Who will climb? Father I know how many obstacles/excuses there are for me to stay at the base of the mountain. My desire and longing is to climb to meet You. Keep that passion at the forefront of all that I do this day!  youversion note

 

its interesting to note in exodus 19 and in this chapter the limits had to be put around the mountain and how only one called man could come and approach God.  the people had to consecrate themselves but even then the mountain was off limits.  God appeared in a dense cloud with fire and thunders and lightenings.  if the people crossed the barrier they would die.

 

contrast to the reality that Jesus is God with flesh, incarnated.

  • The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

  • Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.  Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.  John 14:8-11

  • The Son is the image of the invisible God.  Colossians 1:15
  • Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men  Philippians 2:6-7

Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God.

and the beautiful thing is that He came and dwelt with us, to show us the Father, to demonstrate His love and grace and power.

because of Him we have access and freedom to approach God, just as Moses did : In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

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In communion we remember the sacrifice of Jesus and all it has won for us.

I can’t get past how Colossians 1 says it:

God himself was pleased

   to live fully in his Son.

   And God was pleased

   for him to make peace

   by sacrificing his blood

   on the cross,

   so that all beings in heaven

   and on earth

   would be brought back to God.

   You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. (Colossians 1:19-22)

Before we were lost.

Now we are found.

Before we were separated from God because of sin.

Now we are able to stand in His presence, holy, clean, new, innocent.

Before we were rejected.

Now we are accepted.

Before we were sinners.

Now we are family.

Not because of anything we have done or could do. But all because of what Jesus did.

At communion we remember that Jesus stretched His arms out upon the cross – after being beaten, whipped, mocked, spat on, unjustly convicted – He stretched His arms out as a declaration of Love. I Love you this much!

His death makes the way – makes us found, holy, acceptable, family.

We know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 peter 1:18-19

In Revelation 5 the elders and angels are declaring the wonder of who Jesus is, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, the one who is worthy, the mighty glorious awesome powerful one… and they worshipped Him “because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9

 

At communion we remember that Jesus died and won. That He died and won a great victory over satan and sin and death! He won the victory that sets us free to be holy and righteous! He sets us free to know our Heavenly Father and to belong with Him forever beginning right now!

Let us remember what He died for and lets LIVE in the reality of the victory! Knowing God. Being loved by Him.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, Hebrews 10:19-23

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1

 

Usually communion is quite solemn as we come and Jesus’ sacrifice, but yesterday as I was praying about what to share and say a particular song was playing – and my heart was just again overwhelmed with awe and love and rejoicing at what Jesus won for us – so I invite you to come and and CELEBRATE communion with thankful hearts – with thankful lives – rejoicing in all that Jesus died for – our redemption – our restoration – our reconciliation!

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last week we had our wonderful women’s conference – and i was blest to be the speaker on the friday night…  these are my notes for the message

 

So the theme of the conference is PREDESTINED for a PURPOSE and my goal tonight is to get you excited and wide open to what God is saying and doing in and through your life

One of the key verses that most of us will know from Esther is FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS – And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14

This is our time. This is our “such a time as this” moment.

I love how Esther is introduced in the bible – she is to become the heroine of the story, the deliverer of her people and a mighty woman of God with a book in the bible named after her (which I think would be a pretty big deal!)

: and by the way – inst it interesting how so many of the bible heroes come from a place of obscurity and how God uses them: david the shepherd, Elijah who we have no idea what his past was, peter the fisherman, Lydia was in retail, matthew a tax collector, mary magdalane the demon possessed prostitute… God delights in taking the ordinary and the unexpected and using them as demonstrations of His greatness and goodness!

 

FAMILY:

 

Just like esther. Now you have to flick through to esther 2 to find her…

 

Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, 6 who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. 7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died.

 

Now we know the end of the story, that Esther is selected, along with all the single ladies, to enter the Ultimate Bachelor competition, undergoes a year of spa treatments and then is ultimately the one chosen, but when we meet her – she is an orphan, an exile, a grieving, broken, lost child. She has an unassuming unheroic ordinary beginning.

Esther was an orphan. We, can make loots of assumptions about when and how her parents died but her experience or ophanhood is probably very different from our glossed over Annie in the red dress picture we have in our head. As an orphan she had no rights. She had no one to depend upon. No sources of love and comfort. No to mention who would teach her to cook, how to apply mascara, how to deal with girl issues, how to meet mr. right.

Esther’s future as an orphan looked pretty bleak…

But the big point I want you to notice and catch is that God puts her in a family; He welcomes her into Mordacai’s family.

You see the reality is that like Esther we are, without God, all orphans and broken and lost and alone.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, Ephesians 2:1

You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. Colossians 1:20

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We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,  because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people – the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.  Colossians 1:3-6

 

as a housegroup leader i know this feeling.  i thank God often for our housegroupies and for the work that God is doing in and through their lives.  its such a privilege to be a part of their lives and an honour to be their housegroup leader.  the greatest thing, apart from that they’re awesome spunky fun cool people, is seeing them grow closer to God and step out into the plans and purposes that He has for them.  reading this it encourages me and challenges me to pray more for those i lead, expectant that God will do incredible things in their life, that they will be fruitful and mature, and know Him and make Him known.

 

i’m so glad for the people in my life that have prayed for me, that have believed in me and extended grace to me in the times when i was “learning to walk.” 

i’m so grateful for the people that came alongside me and helped me to grow and bear fruit, and bore with me in my seasons of rebellion and ignorance. 

 

what a fantastic commendation Paul gives the Colossian Christians – that they are known by their love and faith.  the hallmark of their lives is their tangible practical real love and tangible real practical faith.   

 

 

 

For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] and of the love which you [have and show] for all the saints (God’s consecrated ones), Colossians 1:3 AMP

 

i love the way the AMP describes faith – the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness – i always say FAITH ISNT A WHAT BUT IT IS IN A WHO – faith is IN God, in His goodness, in His greatness, in His ableness and power and wisdom and glory

its not about us.  but its about HIM. 

He saves us, He rescues us, He restores us, He transforms us.

and i put my hand up and say YES PLEASE.  and even in that my response is usually because He has opened my eyes to His wonderfulness and stirred my spirit towards Him. 

 

the one universal unchangeable Gospel which was made known to you, even as it was carried throughout the world, approving itself by its fruits wherever it is planted. For, as elsewhere, so also in you, these fruits were manifested from the first day when you received your lessons in, and apprehended the power of, the genuine Gospel, which is not a law of ordinances but a dispensation of grace, not a device of men but a truth of God. LIGHTFOOT

which is present with you even as also it is in all the world constantly bearing fruit and increasing, just as it is also among you from the day when you heard it and came to know experientially the grace of God in the sphere of truth  WEUST

 

faith and love and Christian living is all about experience – experientially knowing the grace of God – more than a mental assent or head knowledge, but a heart level knowledge that is then translated and expressed in the very way we live our lives

It is important to remember that the gospel is not a stagnant system of ethics but is living, dynamic and growing truth. The living gospel is the power that transforms lives. As it does so, the witness of those transformed lives produces fruit, including new converts. So as the gospel produces fruit in individual lives, its influence spreads.  Perceptastim

 

i so like the last part of verse 6 – the day you truly understood God’s grace.  there is a difference b/w understanding and, how do i put it, thinking we understand.  true understanding results in change and response and love and transformation and fruit.  it permeates who we are and what we do.  so often we have a checklist in our head of what things good Christians do and what things good Christians don’t.  but underlying that all, the reality is that God loves us with an everlasting love and He sees not our own righteousness but Christ’s righteousness.

 

“God’s perspective on us is remarkable, almost unbelievable.  He delights in us and loves us as a caring Father.  He’s running toward us, ready to embrace and forgive us.  He’s for us in all the pain of life and can sustain us in every challenge.  as i learn to see from God’s perspective, my perspective on everything else shifts.  i realize that my failures don’t disqualify me.  i’m aware of the security i already have in God’s grace.  i trust that nothing will separate me from the love of God in Christ.”  Jud Wilhite

awesome eh.  that’s what grace is.  that’s what living by grace is.  when we understand it we’re free.  we can fly (okay i’m watching how to tame your dragon at the same time as doing this and totally inspired by the flying dragon!) and really live.  we live in response to God’s great love and abundant grace, lavished upon us.  that’s what inspires us to change, motivates us, from the inside out.  because God is awesome and worth it.

 

 

 

* colossians has been one of my most favourite books for a few years now.  i quote from colossians 1 usually every time i preach.  yes seriously.  so thought i would dig in a bit more…

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And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:10-13

 

 

He is the image of the invisible God,

the firstborn over all creation.

For by him all things were created:

things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;

all things were created by him and for him.

He is before all things,

and in him all things hold together.

And he is the head of the body, the church;

he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in him,

and through him

to reconcile to himself all things,

whether things on earth or things in heaven,

by making peace

through his blood,

shed on the cross.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour.

But now

he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body

through death

to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation

-if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.   Colossians 1:15-23

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