Spirit Soars Above

Spirit Soars Above

by Effie Darlene Barba

 

When this world would try

Cause my heart to cry

With the hurts that come

future looks so glum

I look to the skies

See your loving eyes

Glory lifts my heart with highs

 

My heart fills with love

Spirit soars above

As I’m lifted high

As with hope I fly

To your loving arms

Free from all the harms

Peace replaces all alarms

 

You are all I need

As my heart is freed

And with joyful song

I sing ‘midst the throng

Of your love so true

Broken hearts renew

As your love comes into view

 

You’re the love in me

That fills my heart with glee

Down uncertain roads

Your joy, love unfolds

My life song so sweet

For you guide my feet

In You my life is complete

 

 

I fly high above

On your wings of love

The rest of my life

I will know no strife

As you fill my heart

And your joy impart

From your love and hope, ne’er depart

 

© 2014 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to any brands, products or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides regarding the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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POWER FILLED POSITIVE THINKING CHAPTER 2B—Joyously Alive-Here and Now

As an apostle of Christ in the early church, Paul faced many trials and persecutions; yet, in the midst of all that, Paul knew joy, hope, faith and love. The one thing that Paul urged the early church to grasp hold upon was the Joy of knowing Christ as their Savior. The Hope that could be found in Him. He urged them to understand the truth of the riches which were theirs in Christ. He constantly reminded them to remember these truths. He knew that if we were to know the truths of our inheritance in Christ and all that it meant to be eternally alive in Him, we would live lives fully Alive with Joy.

That joy is to be ours today. When Christ arrived at the tomb of Lazarus and he asked Martha, Don’t you believe that I am the Resurrection? She had replied with tears, I know that one day you will return as the resurrection. We as Christians all too often walk around with moping faces, just as did Martha. Oh, woe is me; I know that one day Christ will return and I will be with Him; (long sigh)—but until then, I will carry my cross. (Long sigh). I know. I was one of those Christians. Having grown up with the idea that laughter and fun were not reverence toward God, I seemed to see a stern and harsh God. I was to dutifully bear my burdens here on this earth. Let me tell you that is not who God is.

fully alive

God is a joyful God and He wants His children to be bathed in that same joy. Not frivolous counterfeit joys which lead to sorrow; but, rather deep ever flowing joy that bubbles up from the heart. Christ died and rose again that I might have new life in Him, here and now. So, rejoice. Joy has come into the world.

How do I experience that Joy?

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POWER-FILLED POSITIVE THINKING—CHAPTER 2 A-FULLY ALIVE

The skies broke forth with a light rain that July 25, 1994; nothing that came close to the torrential rain of tears in my own heart. As I stood there beside that open grave and they lowered the casket into the ground, I felt as though my own life was draining from my body—I could barely stand.  Yet, I saw the eyes of my sons filled with tears and I knew I must rise up to go forward with every ounce of strength and hope within me. I thought back to 16 years earlier when I had first met Pedro Barba (Arroyo), Jr. He had stolen my heart in an instant with his smile and held it captive with his brilliance; yet, there had always been such a sadness about his eyes and there were time when that sadness held his heart captive. Throughout the years there were many trials and many obstacles; yet, this was certain—he held my heart captive and my life circled around that love. Now, he was gone and all I could do was ask God for the strength and the might to go on. Yet, there was this—Pete had accepted Christ as his Savior on January 15, 1994—six months before he died. In the midst of that dark, dark hour; there shone into my heart the light of this truth. “Pete was no longer sad. For him, this earthly pilgrimage journey had led him home to life eternal.”  What I was still yet to learn was that life—now, here should no longer be sad because of the life we have in Christ.

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In Christ, we have victory over death because He rose from the grave and conquered death once and forever for each believer. Yet, this truth is not just victory over death someday—it is the truth that we are now freed from the death that we were born with as a result of our spirits being separated from God because of sin’s curse. Christ died that we might have life and live life abundantly filled with all the spiritual blessings and endowed with the Holy Spirits power to live our lives filled with joy, hope, love and strength.

Let us look again at these verses in Ephesians 1:

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Power Filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 1C- Beyond Mediocrity

 

Learning to live "In Christ”-“Abiding in Christ" is of the utmost importance to each and every one of us as we walk through this pilgrimage journey. Through an understanding of all that is ours as a result of God’s gift of salvation through faith because of Christ’s atonement for our sin, we become empowered to allow the Holy Spirit to utilize these gifts. Our position is held secure because of Christ and God’s covenant plan of redemption. Our position is not held by our own power; but, rather held firmly by His Faithfulness to complete all that He began in us. The more I am able to grasp the truth of “who I am in Christ” the more His beauty becomes magnified in my heart and the more I am able to see His Glory. The more I see His glory the more I become transformed into His image. The more I become transformed into His image, the more I am able to feel, understand and comprehend His love toward me. This is all a result of the Holy Spirit’s work in me and is because of God’s transforming work in me. There is nothing innately in me that performs this. Yet, as I begin to learn about who I am in Christ—I am able to rise far above what this human heart would be capable of and therein to serve humbly, joyfully, faithfully, boldly facing whatever trials confront me. Whatever formerly seemed impossible, becomes possible in Christ as I focus upon these truths. God did not leave me powerless; instead, he gave me all I could ever need  from His own overflowing power and might.

Pathwayto glory

Original picture courtesy of Jamie Easley

All too often, we as Christians don’t comprehend the great and mighty treasure of what we have been given in Christ. Our ignorance of this leads to our living out lives of mediocrity. When we feast upon the truth of our positions in Christ, our sorrows are transformed into joy because we see them through the eyes of God; recognizing, His plan of love for each one of us. (Jeremiah 31: 13) When I know what Christ bought on the cross for me, despair is replaced with Hope, (Psalm 146:5-6) trials are changed into opportunities, (Romans 5:3-4) and desperate loneliness is overcome by perfect, unconditional love.

This is such a miraculous mystery that in Christ, the weak become strong, the ugly becomes beautiful, the unlovely transform to beloved, sinners become righteous, and broken hearted sorrow filled people become joyous.

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THE GRACE IN WHICH I STAND

This is a poem from my archives.  I wrote it in 2010 as the end to the final chapter of my book a “Broken and Contrite Heart”.  I thought it befitting our current series.  Where do we find the strength which can make us bold, fearless and joy filled as we face our lives here on this journey of life?  Where is the power that can lift us up to a life of being truly positive thinkers when bombarded by evil, temptations, sorrows, and even guilt?  And when this fragile, feeble soul trembles–my strength is built upon the truth of God’s promises to me.  My prayer for you and for myself is that which Paul prayed for the church of Ephesus:  Ephesians 1: 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

The Grace in Which I Stand

 by Effie Darlene Barba

Oh feeble heart, Oh fragile soul

Where is the hope on which you hold

With all the failures of your past

Where is the faith to make you bold

Where is the faith to make you bold

 

There was a King though blameless He

That came to pay my penalty

And in that act He set me free

To follow Him in liberty

To follow Him in liberty

 

It is His love that drew me out

And in His Grace I shall not doubt

That He who started this work in me

Will finish it with a Glorious Shout

Will finish it with a Glorious Shout

 

One day the finished work be done

That I might look then like God’s son

Sifted, shined just like pure Gold

As Glory shines forth, Glorious One

As Glory shines forth, Glorious One

 

And in this hope my faith conformed

I know my life will be transformed

I stand upon this future grace

So for His work my passion warmed

So for His work my passion warmed

 

So in this faith I firmly stand

That formed in me as God had planned

No force on earth can shake me free

My future held by God’s great hand

My future held by God’s great hand.

 

© 2014 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to any brands, products or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides regarding the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Power-filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 1b-Master Teacher of Positive Thinking-Paul

I have pointed out in the previous writing that understanding the truth that God is Sovereign over my life changes how I react to circumstances that come into my life; but, let’s take this one step further. A mere head knowledge of God’s Sovereignty would not be enough to keep me joy filled, peaceful, fearless, nor strong against the storms of life if it were not for an understanding of God’s Grace and Mercy toward me. In fact, head knowledge alone could even lead to a life filled with guilt, sorrow and fear were it not for an in-depth knowledge of the truth of who I am in Christ.

aiden,flower,God's glory

original photo courtesy of Sarah Barba, for more of her photos please visit http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/sarah+barba/all

When I accepted Christ as my Savior, my position changed and I became a new creation “in Christ”. Yet, unless I fully understand the riches of that position, I could still be walking around like a beggar and a pauper spiritually. Understanding who I am in Christ is the key to becoming a Power-Filled Positive Thinker—endowed with the Holy Spirit’s power to be filled to the overflowing with joy, hope, love, peace, and the light of glory regardless of the circumstances that surround me.

Before we begin to look at the characteristics of who we are in Christ; let’s look at Paul the Apostle who is the Master Teacher of Power Filled Positive Thinking and living a life in Christ.

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POWER FILLED POSITIVE THINKING-CHAPTER 1a Why is how I think so important?

POWER FILLED POSITIVE THINKING-CHAPTER 1a Why is how I think so important?

It had been a very restless night, as I kept awakening to pray in the darkness. Earlier that day at work something had happened so unexpected and so out of character for the job. I had walked into the office of my boss, a man whom I loved as a brother and respected as a leader where I was suddenly accused by another of having done serious crimes against the practice. The accusations mounted had been being “investigated” and multiple meetings of the board had occurred over the previous 9 months without so much as a question to me or a clarification of the facts—all based on accusation and rumor of one power hunger person wanting to rise. The thing that hurt most, after ten years was that my boss believed the lies as though the truth of who I was had suddenly been forgotten. Instead of defending me, he joined in the accusations. I stood accused, tried, and condemned of a crime not committed. “Anyone else I would have fired” rang out his words; “but, because of all your years of dedicated work—we have decided not to fire you.” Before I left the office that day, I asked the one who had started the accusations why had no one come to me before now and she loudly said in front of all the other employees, “Because we needed to consider whether we were going to make formal criminal charges against you.”

fearless faith

original picture used courtesy of Cheryl Delashmit

So I spent the night in deep prayer.  I knew that God was Sovereign over every detail of my life; so, I needed to know why this?  What could be God’s purpose?  Why did I feel like a knife had been thrust through my heart and I had been left to bleed to death?  I did not doubt that God had planned something good in this for me—I just needed clarity as to the next step—God’s plan, God’s will, and God’s timing.

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Power Filled Positive Thinking-The Real Key to Success (Part 1) Introduction

This world with all the complexities, the trials, the conflicts and the sorrows that surround our hearts and minds daily would crush the strongest of mankind were it not for hope, inner peace, joy and a knowledge of purpose which allows one to rise above the clamoring noise of destruction. Perhaps that is why so many run to cling tight to new age philosophers, positive thinking, and even the prosperity gospel which has penetrated our churches. We so want to avoid any emotional pain and to find some way to stop those voices in our head. The methods given by the new age philosophers are alluring and filled with methods which at first glance appear fundamentally sound.    Indeed, they seem to work at first; yet, the problem is not the methods as much as it is on what they base their trust upon.  They base their philosophy upon digging deep within, surrounding  one’s self with positive thoughts, looking  in the mirror while proclaiming one’s self as powerful, beautiful, successful, and filled with peace. The power they believe comes from one’s own mind.  Still, what about when you do it all; yet, tragedy strikes? Or when your heart has been broken one too many times and the hard cold casing you have surrounded your heart with becomes a lonely and dark casket, what do you do then? What about when the mind is lost in a coma, alzheimer’s, or a brain injury? If my only hope is in the power of my own mind and my inner strength, what then? Oh, yes; I do with all my heart believe in positive thinking; but, the difference is on what I place my hope. The foundation of my hope is in the Great I am, God—my Creator, my Savior, my sustainer and my Father. That relationship can only be found through the redemptive work of Christ. It is Christ in me, my hope of Glory. (Col.1:27)

Open door on the green field. Conceptual

orignal photo courtesy of @istockphoto.com

Knowing who I am in Christ is the key to true fountains of joy bubbling up within me even when the world crashes in around me; not, some counterfeit outward joy that I must prop up with my own mind or self-boasting, self-exalting behaviors.

It is only knowing the truth of God’s fathomless, unconditional love for me which can mend this broken heart of mine and fill it with so much love that I can shine forth that love to those around me. It is the knowledge of the exceeding Greatness of God’s Power toward me that can give me hope in the face of every road and turn I take. Imagine this, the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent creator of the Universe loves me and is guiding my every step—what do I ever need to worry about.

So, we need to be careful when we read the “positive thinking” philosophies that we remember who we are in Christ. Paul even warned us of this very truth.

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A Soldier Wounded

Most Saturdays, I try to give you a new poem; however, some weeks I go back and pull from my own archives.   Tonight, I have chosen this poem from my archives.

In this world, there are so many frustrations, trials, pressures, illness, and stresses that at times we are wounded.  Sometimes our hearts are broken, sometimes we feel that we are the targets of unhappy people’s darts, sometimes we are frustrated with ourselves, and sometimes we find ourselves battling illness.  We may know who we are in Christ and recognize that He is our source of love, joy, hope, faith, and righteousness; yet, we are wounded by the sadness and pain we see all around us.  Those are the moments we must withdraw and spend a moment alone with God so that we might be restored. Never let the trials steal your Joy in Him.  Hope you enjoy this poem.

A Soldier Wounded

by Effie Darlene Barba

 

A Soldier wounded in the fight

Oh Lord I need Your strength, Your might

I need to go, a place to hide

That draws me closer to Your side

 

This battle Lord has knocked me down

Until it’s hard to glimpse Your crown

With evil pushing all around

I dearly need Your solace found

 

That I might rise again to fight

With vision of the brilliant light

Of your great glory in the end

Oh that your love I might defend

 

Within this world, pain doth abound

I need your word my mind surround

Until I cannot hear their voice

So I might know what is your choice

 

I must lay down my sword tonight

And pray for strength tomorrow’s light

That I might stand once more for you

With Christ’s dear love my only view

 

So hold me tight within your arms

And keep me safe from all that harms

My tears may fall against your chest

As I recall Your will is best.

© 2014 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to any brands, products or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides regarding the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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A Prayer for Love in a Hostile World

From the midst of a dark, cold jail cell; Paul is writing to the early church. A church that he knew would be persecuted. Even more so, the church which Paul was preaching too were the Gentiles—those who were by the Jewish nation considered the lowest of the low—the heathens. So, imprisoned for his faith in Christ, beaten and flogged for having preached the gospel; Paul has eloquently been telling early believers to remember who they are in Christ. They are the redeemed, beloved, chosen children of the most high God. He has urged them to remember these truths as they were going to need to cling tight to those facts while they are being rejected and persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. He reminded them that it was God’s plan from before the earth was formed that the body of believers would include them—called out from the gentiles as well as the Jews and these former enemies would be joined in the formation of the “church” of believers that would now spread the gospel of Christ.

broken-and-contrite-heart-ronald-barba

Artwork is used with written permission of Ronald Barba who owns the copyright. His work can be found at: http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/ronald+barba/all

Then from the midst of that jail cell, Paul prayed for these believers a prayer that they be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. He knew that they would be facing so much unrest, injustice, and ostracism that they would by nature grow bitter, angry and hostile in their response. Yet, Paul knowing the battle that might occur around them and within their own hearts; prays that they become so rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, that they are strengthened with hope. He prays to the only one who can perform this kind of miracle of love, which is God himself. Look at this prayer.

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