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Everyone loves a good love story.

The Princess Bride.

Tangled.

The return of the jedi.

 

If you flick through the tv channels you’ll see evidence of our cultures fascination with love stories.

The Bachelor.

Married at First Sight.

First Date.

 

Not endorsing any of those programmes – especially as these ones often end up unhappily ever after!

Hosea is one of those books that probably should come with a PG rating, and would make reality tv viewers go nuts on social media but is my favourite book of the Bible.  It is a phenomenal picture of the gospel and of God’s unrelenting, everlasting, never stopping, never giving up love for us.  The name Hosea even means Salvation and is the same name as Joshua and Jesus and as we read Hosea we see that not only his words, but that his whole life was a prophetic message to Israel.

The book of Hosea is a love story.  Of the epic romance movie kind.

I’ve been doing some research bout love stories and romcoms this week.  There is a formula for romantic movies did you know.

Boy meets girl.

Boy and girl like each other but must overcome obstacles to be together.

Plot twist.

Happy ending.

 

The book of Hosea follows the genre well.  It focuses on one of the craziest things that God asked anyone in the Bible to do. God told a man named Hosea to marry a woman who had a “shady past” and thus, boy meets girl.    God loving good Christian boy Hosea meets worldly atheistic good time girl.  But the craziness doesn’t end there.  Plot twist number one.  Gomer abandons Hosea and sleeps around, becoming a professional hooker, having kids by these other men. Plot twist number two.  The good times run out for Gomer, and she ends up being sold into sexual slavery.  Plot twist number three. God tells Hosea to go and buy her back and bring her back into his home and to share his love with her again. Believe or not, Hosea obeyed! What was God up to? And will there be a happy ending by the time the credits roll?

The human story was to teach people about His Story. It’s a story that definitely gets our attention, and it’s an incredible reminder of God’s radical love for us. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who you really are has nothing to do with you — how much you can accomplish, who you can become, your behaviour (good or bad), your strengths, your weaknesses, your past, your present, your future, your family background, your education, your looks. Your identity is firmly anchored in Jesus’ accomplishment, not yours; his strength, not yours; his performance, not yours; his victory, not yours. ~ Tullian Tchividjian

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Lonely spaces can be lovely spaces.

Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Yes I know its the semantics.

When we often think of the word lonely we think of aloneness, brokenness, lack, sorrow.

But what if it is our perception that defines whether a space is lonely or lovely in our lives.

What if we reframed it?

What if we turned that time when we’re finding ourselves relationally into time when we draw closer to God?

Just as Jesus did.

What if we viewed the season as a time of growth and an opportunity to pray and read and say yes to God?

God is with us.  Jesus is with us.

Always.

I think when we draw into the loveliness of God’s presence and find our security in Him then He is able to sustain us and fill our lives.

Time and time again it says in psalms – YOU are my portion.  You fill me.  You satisfy me.  In YOU in find my security.

Psalm 16:5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.

Psalm 145:16 You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

Psalm 142:5 I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living.

The good news is God’s promise : Psalm 68:6 God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

Lonely spaces can become lovely spaces

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Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands

See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands

Isaiah 49:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that all who believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  The gift of God is salvation.  Grace.  Acceptance.  Innocence.  Eternity.  Peace with God.

But even more so and more personal – His salvation is an invitation to relationship.

Its not just a golden ticket, but a welcome to be called a child of God.

To be loved, and to love.

So much so that our names are inscribed, engraved, written, tattooed, scared upon His hands.

Today, remember, YOU are loved.

Isaiah 49:16 goes on to say “your walls are continuously before Me.”  We are always in His heart.

You are on the mind of God.  You are on His radar.

He wrote your name on His hands.

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“Lamentations 3 tells us “His compassions are new every morning.”  God’s compassions, or mercies are available minute by minute, step by step, decision by decision, reaction by reaction.  We don’t have to get bogged down and label as unable.  We just have to ask God for forgiveness and move on. I am a woman on a journey of learning how to make sure my reactions don’t deny Christ’s presence in me.  ~ Lysa Terkeurst

Grace covers me.  All of me.  There are no spaces of my life where grace and the good news of the gospel cannot flow and bring hope.

No matter what I do, I am covered by His grace.  No matter who I am, I am covered by His grace.

On my best days, and my worst.

In my strength and in my weakness.

This is the good news for everyone.  No matter how dark you feel your soul is, no matter how wild your behaviour, know that the grace of God is enough.   More than enough.

Grace invites us to draw near when we would hide.  Grace comes and sits beside you in your aloneness, in the space you shut everyone out.  It shines light into the corners where we shrink away.  It takes our hand.  It wipes away tears.  Grace is the new morning, the fresh start, the clean slate.  Truly.  Really.  Totally.

There is nothing we can do that will disqualify us from His love and make Him turn away from us. Read the rest of this entry »

As children of God we are free.

Freer than we may ever know.

We are no longer slaves, slaves to our self, slaves to our shame, slaves to our past, slaves to our rejection, slaves to our sin and the sins of others… we are free.  Truly free.

His freedom is limitless.  It removes every chain, every burden.

His freedom is given by grace, walked in by grace, felt by grace.  Oh what grace it is that sets me free.

I am no longer a slave, no longer ashamed, no longer at arms length – but I am invited in, right in.  I am invited to come and be loved and to love.  I am seen as innocent and acceptable by the grace and works of Jesus.

My freedom was not freely purchased, but cost the life of my Saviour Jesus Christ.  It is His death that won my freedom.  He who was no slave but is the King of the universe became slave to death to defeat it.

My freedom cost Him His all.

I receive.  I receive.  I bow and receive.  I worship and receive.

All that was won for me I receive.

Thank you for your freedom Jesus.

 

I’m praying this song will touch your heart like it has mine….  And oh for love to trust some more to fix my eyes on heaven’s shore, And for hope with every step every word my every breath

Read the rest of this entry »

Flowers by Passion | Cereal Magazine

Nothing About You Is The Gospel…And That’s Good News – Tullian Tchividjian

How often have you heard the gospel equated with a positive change in a believer’s life? “I used to __________, but then I met Jesus and now I’m ___________.” It may be unintentional, but we make a serious mistake when we reduce the good news to its results, such as patience, sobriety, and compassion, in the lives of those who have heard it. These are beautiful developments, and belief in the gospel does produce such fruit. But the results should not be confused with the gospel itself. The gospel is not a means to an end, it is an end in itself.

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Here Is What Happens When Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type Makes A New Year’s Resolution

ENFP

“I resolve to make less than thirty new years resolutions this year, and keep at least two of them.”

Outcome: Stays up for fourteen straight days in an attempt to complete first resolution and subsequently ends up creating fifteen more.

ISTJ

“I resolve to be less regimented and spend more time relaxing.”

Outcome: Schedules relaxation between 3:15 and 3:42pm each afternoon, during which time they create detailed lists of how they will relax on following days.

ESFP

“I resolve to party less… On weeknights… Before 5pm.”

Outcome: Drunkenly announces their resolution to five hundred of their closest friend on Thursday January 1st, at the bar, at 4pm.

ENTJ

“I resolve to screw over marginally less of my colleagues as I fearlessly charge towards success.”

Outcome: Keeps a detailed chart of co-workers they are not preying on. Eventually hires a colleague to manage this chart as a distraction while the ENTJ rises above them professionally.

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NINE QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU EXEGETE PEOPLE – Paul David Tripp

Here are nine helpful questions to ask yourself as you attempt to be a student and exegete of your people:

  1. What are the cultural idols that are particularly attractive to my people?
  2. Where do they tend to buy into an unbiblical worldview with its accompanying hopes and dreams?
  3. Are there themes of spiritual struggle that I need to speak to?
  4. Where do they tend to get discouraged and need the hope of the gospel?
  5. What is the level of their biblical literacy and theological knowledge?
  6. How many of them are actively involved in service, and how many are “ecclesiastical consumers”?
  7. What do they tend to struggle with in the workplace?
  8. What do they wrestle with at home?
  9. What are they reading, watching, and listening to, and how are they influenced by it?

These questions – or others will similar heart-focus and lifestyle recognition – will help you in your preaching, teaching, and counseling as you connect the transforming message of the gospel to the real experiences of the people God has entrusted to your care.

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Don’t Miss These Three Markers for Discipleship -Ed Stetzer/Pastors.com

What Are We Missing in Discipleship?

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about spiritual formation and discipleship, and rightfully so.

I think we can all agree there’s a discipleship deficit in many churches. There isn’t a whole lot of discipling going on, even though that’s precisely what we, as Jesus’ followers, were commissioned to do—make disciples.

So leaders are asking questions like, “What should we do?” and “How should we do it?” There are plenty of successful models that have been tried in a variety of contexts. But how can we best make disciples right where we are?

There are plenty of discipleship books and models. But what can we learn about discipleship from Christ and the early church? In this series of articles, we are looking at four discipleship principles found in Scripture:

  • Maturity is a goal for disciples.
  • God wants you and your church on a clear path toward spiritual growth.
  • God involves us in our own growth, as well as our church’s growth.
  • God calls you and your church to be spiritual leaders.

 

How can it be?

That God loves me, despite all my sin and flaws?

How can it be?

That I am loved so greatly?

I am loved.  I am loved.  I am loved.

All because of Jesus.

All because of the cross.

 

 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

Every time i watch this i leak… its an incredibly powerful testimony of the love of God and the power (and privelge) of saying YES to God… i dare you to watch it without crying…

Every time i watch it i am reminded that even in the small things that God asks us to do there can be remarkable outworkings and purpose that we are unaware of.  Our role is not to create the plan but to follow our King.  Our role is to say YES.

Every time i watch this it strikes me how beautiful the love of Jesus is.  Breathtaking.

Will you say yes today?

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