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I know, this song sounds Christmasy.  but the truth remains true no matter what day of the year it is.  Jesus is the light of the world, the hope for the hopeless, the healing for the hurting.

 

 

The world waits for a miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
O come, O come, Emmanuel
A child prays for peace on earth
And she’s calling†out from a sea ofhurt
O come, O come, Emmanuel
And can you hear the angels singing

(chorus)
Glory to the Light of the world
Glory the Light of the world is here

The drought breaks with the tears of a mother
A baby’s cry is the sound of love
Come†down, come down Emmanuel
He is the song for the suffering
He is Messiah
The Prince of Peace†has come
He has come, Emmanuel

(chorus)
Glory to the Light of the world
Glory to the Light of the world
Glory to the Light of the world
Glory to the Light of the world

(bridge)
For all who wait
For all who hunger
For all who’ve prayed
For all who wander
Behold your King
Behold Messiah
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23

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God with us.

in the good times, and the hard times.

in the day and the night.

today and tomorrow.

yesterday, in the past and in our future.

in the valley and on the mountaintops.

God, with us.

near, personal, close.  with us.

The Word became flesh and dwelled with humanity.  He was with us in body.

He is always with us because now He dwells within us, the Holy Spirit.

with us.  always.

Immanuel, the promise of good news, that God would draw near and dwell with us.

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@louiegiglio Don’t settle for less that what Christ was raised for.

 

@casey_doss Always remember, you can never manufacture real fire. It either burns in you, or it doesn’t.

 

@BurkParsons Jesus wasn’t simply born to die or remain sinless, he was born to live and fulfill the law so that his death would secure our redemption.

 

@BurkParsons What makes me beautiful to God is Jesus. Tim Keller

 

@nickygumbel I believe in the poetic genius of a Creator who would choose to express such unfathomable power as a child born in straw poverty. – Bono

 

@MatthewBarnett The attitude of the dreamer determines the altitude of the dream.

 

@ChristineCaine  There is something profoundly liberating about choosing to not allow the fear of man to dominate your life, decisions & choices. #obeyGod

 

@followsmitty Facts can change people’s minds but only the manifest presence of God can change hearts and minds

 

@DailyKeller "In our work we are God’s hands and fingers, sustaining and caring for his world."

 

@DailyKeller "What God gave us at Christmas was not just his Son…What God gave us at Christmas is a whole new life."

 

@MarsHill Faith is an inward conviction that is demonstrated with an outward action. #Godwithus

 

@PaulTripp The manger should remind us of how deep our need is. God must go to this extent to restore us to himself and fix what’s broken inside us.

 

@PaulTripp He came as the Son of Man. He revealed himself to be the Son of God. He now reigns as the conquering King, all for our salvation.

 

@bobgoff God doesn’t call us failures when we fail, He calls us His beloved. We’re defined by our joy, not our success @lovedoes

 

@abracamanda That feeling of operating in your gifts for God’s glory… there is absolutely nothing apart from it that compares. Reignite your passion.

 

@soulsupply  "There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in." – Elizabeth Gilbert

 

 

and me

@fireball3316 Nice to be home 🙂

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23

774124905467634_mt5X1x4r_c

God with us.

in the good times, and the hard times.

in the day and the night.

today and tomorrow.

yesterday, in the past and in our future.

in the valley and on the mountaintops.

God, with us.

near, personal, close.  with us.

The Word became flesh and dwelled with humanity.  He was with us in body.

He is always with us because now He dwells within us, the Holy Spirit.

with us.  always.

Immanuel, the promise of good news, that God would draw near and dwell with us.

In our lives we sometimes wonder if God is aware of where we are on the journey….

Exodus 17:1-2 The Israelites left the desert and moved from one place to another each time the LORD ordered them to. Once they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for them to drink. The people started complaining to Moses, “Give us some water!” Moses replied, “Why are you complaining to me and trying to put the LORD to the test?”

The Lord led the people. When he moved, they moved. Where he stopped and stayed, they stopped and stayed. He commanded their moves.

Did God not realize they had no water there?

Did he not check his map or google earth before stopping the cloud of his presence?

Did he forget to check the list of required “stuff” at this location?

Was God not aware of the needs of the poeple?

God sees all and knows all.
He needs no GPS to know where he is and the resources there.
He was fully aware of where HE was and where the people were.

He totally comphended the needs of the poeople.

He knows OUR needs and sees where we are in life. He knows the desire of our heart.

He led them to a place with no water. He stopped and he stayed there.

There was a bigger picture at work – a purpose for the poeople to stop at Rephidim.

God was teaching them to have faith in him and to trust him and to follow him and to see the wonders he could work. He is the almighty God who parted the sea and provided manna and quail. He is the God who delivered them from Egypt and slavery.

How did the people respond? With faith and prayer?

No – they complained and dissed God. THey did not trust him.

Where are you at in your journey? Are you in a place with streams of water? Are you in a dry and thirsty place? Do you have a job? Are your relationships going well? Are you healthy? Are you feeling fulfilled?

Are you trusting God?

Are you fixing your eyes upon Him and His might rather than looking at your circumstances?

Trust in the Lord Your God wth all your heart, all your mind, all your strength, all your understanding and dont rely on your own understanding of life.

If God leads you to a dry place – fix your eyes upon him and request substance from Him. He is the ONLY ONE who is able to make the dry place flow with nourishment.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:22-23

i was thinking more about this last night as i lay awake in the middle of the night.  i love how God gives His name – how His name is a sign or a relfection or a THIS IS WHO I AM type thing.  God honours His name – as in He lives up to the expectation of His name.

JEHOVAH-JIREH: “The Lord will Provide.” Gen. 22:14. From “jireh” (“to see” or “to provide,” or to “foresee” as a prophet.) God always provides, adequate when the times come.

JEHOVAH-ROPHE: “The Lord Who Heals” Ex. 15:22-26. From “rophe” (“to heal”); implies spiritual, emotional as well as physical healing. (Jer. 30:17, 3:22; Isa. 61:1) God heals body, soul and spirit; all levels of man’s being.


JEHOVAH-ROHI: “The Lord Our Shepherd” Psa. 23, from “ro’eh” (to pasture).

from The Names of God

and if you want to have your mind totally blown and happy dance about the names of God go read HERE – here is another list of names!

so back to lying awake in teh middle of the night…

Immanuel – God With Us.

This is the name God declared would be the name of the Messiah and Saviour.  This is WHO HE IS – He IS God with us!  He is declaring something about His very heart and nature.  He is saying “expect me to be with you, because I AM GOD WITH YOU, I AM WHO I AM!”

Now that is good news!  Good news to ordinary people – it makes God so personal and real and close – God with ME – ordinary me, in my today, in my tomorrow, while i lie awake at night, as i drive, as i am needing Him, as i am resting, as i am working.  God with me.

This is the fourth post counting down to Christmas…  counting down to celebrating the day God became flesh and dwelled with humanity, living and dying on the cross for our salvation.


Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials. Smith Wigglesworth

There is a fine line when talking about testing and trials in some christian groups.

Some want to point the blame for all hard times and bad hair days solely at God.

Others give all credit to the devil.
Others discount any spiritual activity and think that life is just life.

Some think that to attribute suffering to God is to deny his goodness and greatness.

Others will say it makes God plain cruel and sadistic.

My own experience is that God is great and good and almighty and knows all and sees all.

Which means he also sees the hidden intention of my heart and the sin that seeks to overcome me.

He sees my wounds and my pain and my fears and my doubts

There is a greater plan for my life than for me to just exist and breathe.

Life is more than breathing.

And in the spirit of that i believe that our trials and testings are sometimes gifts from God to transform us and shape us and draw us closer to him and to learn more about him and his ways and to grow more mature and more christlike.

As gold is refined in the fire so we are refined in the fire of life.

Sometimes life just happens.

Sometimes the devil comes with his firey darts to shake us.

Sometimes God refines us.

With in the fire and the flood Jesus is with us.

We are never alone or forsaken and we are never tested beyond what we can endure.

And God is with us.

There is a purpose and a plan.

Sometimes it does good to remember that and to take all the good and the bad and the ugly and to live it to the maximum taking full advantage of what God may be saying in that time….

Go to Him who gives us rest and calls us to draw near and cast our cares upon him.

Sometimes i think the hard times are harder because we are not doing that.

We are trying to walk alone in the fire and flood instead of relying upon God who gives us peace and renews our strength.

We forget we are spiritual creatures and children of God.

We forget God is our refuge and that we hide in him.

We forget to learn.

Its not so much about giving credit where credit is due but in all things giving glory to God who is able to work all things in our lives for his glory and purpose.

He sees all and knows all and only on the other side of eternity may we understand the road we have walked on and the greater purpose of our trials and testing.

Again, rest in God, cast your cares upon him, find your peace in him.
He is with you.

God’s way accomplishes His purpose quicker than anything you could think of. God is able to seek out and destroy the roots of self-love. God is able to seek out and destroy the roots of self-love. You, on your own, could never find those hidden roots. God can see the entrie path of self-love within your heart. Let Him attack self-love at its strongest point. Pray for strengtth and faith enough to trust yourself completely to God. Follow Him simply wherever He may lead you and you will not have to think up big plans to bring about your perfetion… Fenelon from 100 days in the secret place

So what is so wrong with self love you may ask?  Perhaps we need to define it more.  We need to look at it in the context that Fenelon is talking about above.  Self love isnt about regarding ourselves well or looking after ourselves.  It is about selfishness and me me me.

I think it is because sin has a root in selfishness – its all about “me” and what i can get and is “good” for me and protects ME. it puts me before God and others. i make choices that are sinful to make me happy or “safe”.   Self love as Fenelon describes it leads to sin.  It doesnt listen to God and doesnt obey God.  It runs away from God and does its own thing.  We can see its effects everywhere in the world.  Greed.  Hate.  Prejudce.  Murder.  Rape.  Abuse.  Fear.  Loneliness.  Sorrow.

Galatians 5:13 says we are “called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love.”

Galatians 5:16-21 instructs us to “let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”

Our self-love is often fighting against the best/pure actions that glorify God.  It is putting God first and surrendering to him, allowing him to shape us into the character and heart of Jesus.

God is shaping us to conform to the character and heart of Jesus. ( Romans 8:28-30 )

He is calling us and MAKING us holy – not only in spirit/soul but in EXPRESSION and DEMONSTRATION – in outworking that holiness in REAL LIFE… its not just a spiritual thing but a real life expression of how we interact in teh real world…

God knows how to deal with the sinfulness in our lvies. Apart from Jesus’ death on the cross which paid for our sin, God also knows how to deal with the sin we STILL do – he exposes teh causes and works on our character, drawing us to him… He brings us continually to the cross, where we find forgiveness daily/minute-ly, bringing us to His throne of grace…

David prays often for God to teach Him to walk a life pleasing to Him…

Psalm 25:3-5
4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,

Psalm 51:5-7
6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts [a] ; you teach [b] me wisdom in the inmost place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Psalm 86:10-12
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. 11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. and my hope is in you all day long.

We must remember that God is our loving Father and he corrects and teachs us because he loves us and for his glory… Job says “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.” (Job 5:17-18) Surrender to that teaching will make the road easier, only by our attitude working with God instead of against it. Working with God to shape us goes against self love often. Self love often trys to preserve us from hurt and change, but change is a good thing that often comes through hurts and experience. These experiences which may be painful teach us hope and peace and faith.

Romans 5:3-4 says “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (NIV)

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” (NLT)

Francis Fenelon says, “pray for strength and faith enough to trust yourself compeletly to God. Follow Him simply wherever He may lead you and you will not have to think up big plans to bring about your perfection.”

We often think of ways that we can WORK on ourselves, give more, do more, go to church more – t hat might make it look like we are working on our heart character… but may feed the self-love more. God knows the perfect road to “perfection” for each of us. It involves death, fire and flames. But He has promised to be with us THROUGH the fire and flames ( Isaiah 43:2). God knows the limits of our strength to resist tempataion and gives us strategies to succeed in the midst of hard times, ( 1 Corinthians 10:13) so that we form character and holiness… not fall and fail. As Fenelon says we need to pray for strength and faith in the God who loves us and leads us.

I hope you are encouraged.  It is never easy to examine ourselves or expose ourselves, even to God.  It is never easy to surrender to him – giving him a free reign to shape us and transform us.  God is gentle and he knows us.  He knows our strengths and weaknesses.  His love is everlasting.  He gives us peace.  He walks with us.    He gives us mercy and grace.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%2028;&version=46;

Matthew 28

1. V1. As soon as they could the women went to prepare Jesus’ body and care for him. Despite his death they still had love and worship to give.

2. V2. Yay God!

3. V3. As bright as lightening! Cool imagery!

4. V4. The angel caused the guards to shake with fear and then faint/lose consciousness. The women saw the angels too but were differently affected.

5. V5. The angel tells the women – who were standing and conscious – don’t be afraid – which most angels in the bible say to humans they reveal themselves to.

6. V5. Jesus was nailed to the cross. This was a common execution style for criminals. People would have seen other crucifixions before. it was a way to punish and humiliate criminals.

7. V6. Jesus isn’t in the tomb! He isn’t there! He is alive! Risen!

8. V7. The angel invited the women into the tomb to see the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection.

9. V7. Now you’ve seen the proof – go and tell! The women FIRST got to tell of the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection! WOMEN! FIRST witnesses! Now days that doesn’t sound so immense and momentous or significant. But in Jesus’ day that was amazing. Women didn’t even get to testify in court. Their word was not counted as worthy enough. Yet God chose women as the first witnesses and declarers of the greatest miracle!

10. V8. “The women were frightened and yet very happy.” Good way of describing all the emotions they probably felt! Put yourselves in their shoes. Their teacher and friend was dead. But now he is alive! Oh the questions! And the wonder! And the hugs! And the “oh my God!” in the most reverent ways!

11. V9 SUDDENLY Jesus met them.

12. The soldiers woke up. They had fainted or lost consciousness when the angel appeared and rolled the huge tombstone away. They bravely then went and told their commander what had happened and how the body was missing. In turn they had to go and face the chief priests. The penalty for the guards to fall asleep on duty was execution. They would have been executed for failing in their duty. Instead of being executed though these guards are paid to fabricate a story and lie to everyone about Jesus’ disappearance. Part of the cover up story was that the soldiers were sleeping when the disciples snuck up and stole Jesus’ body. Does this sound logical? Yes, but not if you consider the context of roman discipline and soldiery. As I said the penalty was death for falling asleep on the job.

13. V16. All the remaining disciples went to the mountain in Galille to meet with Jesus. The remaining 11. Judas had hung himself. Peter had denied Jesus 3 times but he was still there. All the other disciples except John didn’t go and watch Jesus die. And they still came. Jesus called and they came. There was hope again. Perhaps the cross was not the end?

14. V17. They saw and worshipped but some of them doubted? Some of them on the mountain with resurrected Jesus doubted? What? Why? What were they doubting?

15. V18. Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth. ALL. ALL means ALL. Everything. ALL. He has all authority. There is no authority higher than his. He is the one who commands. All other authorities and powers are subject to his authority. Get this in all the way. Live with this perspective. Live under and in and through the authority of Jesus. Know his authority is in heaven and on earth. Submit to it and be secure in it.

16. V19-20 “Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them to do everything you were told.”

Make disciples

o Wholehearted

o Commited

o Agree to teaching

o Learning

o Serving

Don’t restrict the gospel. People of ALL nations. People of all nations were to be made disciples.

Don’t restrict what you teach – they were told to teach everything that Jesus had taught them. Don’t hold anything back. Don’t create spiritual hierarchies.

17. “I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.” V20

When Jesus says, “Come to me,” he doesn’t say come to religion, come to a system, or come to a certain doctrine. This is a very personal invitation to a God, and invitation to a Savior.

Our God is not aloof—he’s not so far above us that he can’t see and understand our problems. Jesus isn’t a God who stayed on the mountaintop—he’s a Savior who came down and lived and worked with the people. Everywhere he went, the crowds followed, drawn together by the magnet that was—and is—the Savior.

The life of Jesus Christ is a message of hope, a message of mercy, a message of life in a dark world.

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Worship Wednesday

1000 Things

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