Sealed in Righteousness by Faith and Grace

Fearless Faith and Awestruck Joy-Sealed in Righteousness by Faith and Grace

Where do we find a faith that stands fearless against the circumstances that surround us? Where is there a faith that allows us to stand for God when we are surrounded by evil? Where do we find the faith that allows us to believe God’s promises to provide a way through our darkest hour, a shelter through the storms of life, His Joy to carry us through our deepest sorrows, and His Grace to seal us in Christ as His righteous, chosen, blessed, redeemed children?

Hebrews 11 “7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

As time had gone by, the descendants of Cain continued to follow after their own selfish desires and intermarried with the descendants of Seth (who had been representative of those who followed after God). Less and less did anyone follow after or seek God in the world that God had created. Hero worship began as mankind grew stronger and stronger in the world-violence and corruption became their way of life.

evilpicture used by permission of Ronald Barba, for more information concerning his art and how to obtain copies; please go to http://www.barba-art.com

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…. and the earth was filled with violence.” (Genesis 6:5, 11). The word of God said, that God was grieved. God is grieved by man’s sin.  God so wanted to share His love, joy and Glory; yet, man wanted no part of God’s gifts.

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Enoch-A Journey of Hope, Faith, and Joy

Fearless Faith and Awestruck Joy—Enoch-A Journey of Hope, Faith, and Joy

Enoch was seventh generation from Adam and the great grandfather of Noah as we are told of in Genesis. We are told very little about Enoch; yet, he was included in God’s Faith Hall of Fame recorded in Hebrews 11. “5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Because of faith, Enoch was “raptured” several years before the flood that would bring judgment upon the sins of this world as we see recorded in Genesis.

ultimate inspirationArtwork used

by permission of Ronald Barba and is protected by copyright restrictions. Please click on link for more information. 

Enoch had a faith that was said to “please God.” The writer of Hebrews further defines a faith that pleases God as: “6 he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Indeed, he wrote,” But without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrew 11:6).

What do we know about Enoch beyond this description in Hebrews 11 and what can we learn about faith from Enoch’s life? If we look at Genesis 5, we see recorded, “21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” In these 4 verses we see symbolized the Christian walk—Salvation, Sanctification, and Glorification. When you understand these 3 stages of the Christian walk, your heart can be filled with hope, faith, and joy as you journey here.

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God’s Battle Song

 

Deuteronomy 20:1 “When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee”

In this life, we face many battles some from without and some from within our own hearts; yet, we may stand firm in faith because of God’s Grace and love.  He is our victory.   Let me share with you this song I wrote.

God’s Battle Song

In this Battleground 0f life

When all is trial, pain and strife

I hear God’s voice, this battle cry

His song of love that fills the sky

Chorus:

“Cast aside your pain and fear

For I AM is always near

I promised you-wait and see

You will shout the victory

As my Joy, My strength, my Song

Becomes hope you will  stand  strong

I love you child, you are mine

Glory’s light on you doth shine”

 

In my battles deep within

When my heart desires to sin

I hear God’s voice this battle cry

A song of love that fills the sky

Chorus:

“Cast aside your pain and fear

For I AM is always near

I promised you-wait and see

You will shout the victory

As my Joy, My strength, my Song

Becomes hope you will  stand  strong

I love you child, you are mine

Glory’s light on you doth shine”

 

Oh, when sorrow breaks my heart

And I don’t have strength to start

I hear God’s voice, this battle cry

His song of love that fills the sky

Chorus:

“Cast aside your pain and fear

For I AM is always near

I promised you-wait and see

You will shout the victory

As my Joy, My strength, my Song

Becomes hope you will  stand  strong

I love you child, you are mine

Glory’s light on you doth shine”

 

When my life on earth is done

And my final race is run

I’ll hear God’s voice, this battle cry

His song of love that fills the sky

Chorus:

“Cast aside your pain and fear

For I AM is always near

I promised you-wait and see

You will shout the victory

As my Joy, My strength, my Song

Becomes hope you will  stand  strong

I love you child, you are mine

Glory’s light on you doth shine”

 

The artist that drew the picture “A Broken and Contrite Heart” featured on my header is Ronald Barba.  Please go to his website ( http://www.barba-art.com) for information regarding obtaining copies or to commission him to create a masterpiece for you.  Feel free to email him at Ron@Barba-Art.com to discuss any art projects and to discuss pricing. 

©2015 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the 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 Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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The Heart of The Matter

Fearless Faith and Awestruck Joy (Part3): The Heart of the Matter

Fearless Faith in the heart of the believer begins with the absolute confidence that God is the Sovereign Creator of the Universe and that He rewards those who diligently seek after Him. The question arises then, do you and I believe that God is Sovereign? Do we really believe that He rewards those who seek after Him? Are we looking for those rewards here and now or are we focused on our future with Him? If I know for a certainty that by investing now, I will in 20 years become a multimillionaire; would I squander that investment on frivolous items today? Too often, in the world of world finances we are not convinced with a certainty that our investment will be secure; thus, opting for today’s pleasure instead of tomorrow’s security. What about spiritually?

follow in his footsteps

If I truly believe that in Christ I am God’s beloved, blessed, redeemed Child—heir of God’s kingdom; would I ever be worried about the cost of my investment here and now? If I truly believe that God’s promises are all “yes and amen” in Christ; could I ever worry about today’s trivial circumstances when all of eternity in His presence is mine? The Creator of the Universe longs for a relationship with me and was willing to pay the price of my sin that I might be able to walk with Him, talk with Him, and have His Holy Spirit always present within me.

How then is it that I would ever feel fear? How would I not always feel overjoyed with the awe and wonder of His presence? As I look at the majestic beauty of His creation which is only a tiny glimpse of the Glory of His common grace upon all of mankind, how would I not fall before Him in humble worship? When I look back at all that He has done just to draw me closer to Himself, how could I ever doubt for a split second His desire to do good to and for me in every circumstance?

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The Wonder of it ALL

Fearless Faith and Awestruck Joy (Part 2) The Wonder of it All

What is faith? If we look at the Webster Dictionary it is defined as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” Complete trust. What about when circumstances appear to be going the wrong way? The Bible defines faith in Hebrews 11 as: “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” So faith in God is complete trust in God—who He is and believing that His promises are true; no matter what the circumstances appear. Faith is the “substance”—the real tangible presence of our hope. It is that complete trust in knowing who “God is and believing that He rewards all who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Hope gives rise to joy

We gaze into the skies at the universe that surrounds us with awe or stand on the edge of the ocean listening to the waves or watch the colors of a sunset with a sense of awe and wonder at so much beauty. The intricacies of how everything fits together; our spirits rise as we recognize that Glory is displayed in all that surrounds us. We hunger for that beauty to fill our hearts.

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Fearless Faith and Awestruck Joy

Fearless Faith and Awestruck Joy-Part 1

Throughout the scripture we hear God’s commands to fear not and to rejoice, as though we can command our most base emotions. Fear rises suddenly within our chest when we gaze into an unknown future. Sometimes injury, pain, illness, financial loss, or our own failure suddenly takes charge and it would seem our whole world crumbles in around us. Sorrow grips our heart and steals any thread of joy when we lose a loved one, when we watch our own children face trials, when we are left to pick up the pieces of broken relationships, and when we come face to face with our own failures.  So, how can God command us to fear not and to rejoice!! Instead of a command, I believe it is His cheering us onward. 

heart ablaze

God knows what we have to face and He repeats these words to lead us onward.  “Fear not—I am here. Rejoice, I am your joy. Look up—I love you and I am right here with you.” “One more step child, one more mile,” He urges us onward. Just as a baby learns to walk, one step more or the runner reaches for the finish line-one more minute to run; God is there urging us forward. He is cheering us onward with, “Fear not! Rejoice!”

Truly it is not so much a command as it is a plea. God is concerned with our joy. God desires that our faith be strong so that we can delight in Him. He knows that we can never feel the exuberance of running across that finish line, if we have never first learned to walk. So, it is His love that draws us to a closer relationship with Him. He is the one who sees the finished tapestry of our life.

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Not Tonight

 

In honor of national police week, I wanted to repost this poem I wrote in March 2014.  I wrote yesterday a reminder that as Christians we are to 1.  Live a life of honor and righteousness as displays the life we have in Christ.  2.  Be submissive to those whom are placed in positions of authority over us and 3.  Remember our own frailties and the darkness of our own sin for which we have been forgiven freely by the blood of Christ.  It is so easy for some to stereotype “all police”; yet, to do so one has to dehumanize the officers.  This is a reminder of their humanity.  Every life matters in the eyes of God and we need to open our hearts in love, mercy and grace to display Christ to the world—that is my duty as a Christian.  God has ordained that we be law abiding citizens and that there be those in authority over us as an act of His Common Grace so that we might not live in a world of total chaos overrun by pure evil.  Evil is present lurking at our doorsteps; so, we each need to daily examine our own hearts and present ourselves humbly at the foot of the cross.  We need to give the respect to the officers who have vowed to protect us, sometimes with their own lives as those placed there by God’s Common Grace. 

nottonightfull

The artist that drew the picture “A Broken and Contrite Heart” featured on my header and who created the backdrop for this poem is Ronald Barba.  Please go to his website ( http://www.barba-art.com) for information regarding obtaining copies or to commission him to create a masterpiece for you.  Feel free to email him at Ron@Barba-Art.com to discuss any art projects and to discuss pricing. 

©2015 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the 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 Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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3 Reflections as We Remember The Fallen Officers

President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation to designate May 15 to “To pay tribute to the law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and to voice our appreciation for all those who currently serve on the front lines of the battle against crime”. So, I wish to take a moment and to honor those men and women who have taken an oath to protect and to serve. They are forced to make a split second judgement which may cost them their life, destroy their own life, or be called a hero for the lives they have saved. They are seriously underpaid, underappreciated, and overly criticized. They are laughed at, spit upon, and too often treated with disdain. They are human and they do make mistakes. Still within their own ranks, they are held to higher standards than you or I and justice does get carried out. Yet, sensationalism drives the popularity rankings of the news media and stirs hearts toward believing lies as truth.

fallen officer

So, what does the Bible say as to how we are to respond toward law enforcement? Look at the word of God written

in Titus 2 and 3 ,(TLB)

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4 Reasons God Waits to Display His Glory

The journey had seemed so long and I was tired. Oh, yes; throughout the journey I had watched the mighty hand of God guide my every step. I had watched His grace as it had shown forth in forgiveness on me His child. I had learned of the depth of His love for me. He was my guiding light throughout the struggles—even during the abusive relationships. God had displayed His majesty as He carried me through the cancer and then the ulcerative colitis. So, when they found the mass on the pancreas there was a part of me that sighed a prayer, “Lord, are you taking me home? I am tired. It has been a long journey. I just want to be with you.” That was 2002. So, obviously; God had a different plan to display His Glory to me here on earth. He knew I still needed to learn that He was my joy, my hope, and my everlasting love here. He knew my prayer to go home and leave this world was a cry to leave the pain because I didn’t know how to bask in His joy, love, and hope here. He knew that for me to fully experience heaven with Him one day, I needed to realize how majestic He really is and I needed to learn that here first. I needed my eyes to learn to see Glory first. Steadily, patiently, slowly He has continued His work of transforming my heart so I might see His Glory and His Majesty with greater clarity.

All too often, we are very impatient in our desire to have our prayers answered. We, too often, become discouraged while waiting for God to answer or to fulfill a promise which we may be clinging to with all our heart.

awed by gloryoriginal photo used by permission of Jim Peregoy

Yet, God knows when our heart is ready to see His Glory in the miracle before us; so, He waits. He knows when we will know that without Him there is no hope left—so we might feel the magical awe of watching Him intervene for us. When, all the hope of our own efforts is gone; He can display His might in such a manner that we will give Him all the Glory and hence we will feel the overwhelming joy of watching His love bestowed on us.

Remember the story of Lazarus, Mary and Martha?

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In the Midst of the Storm

 

In this lifetime, we will face storms at times, whether they are storms within our own souls, storms within our emotions, relationship storms, or financial storms. When they come we tremble, we wonder where has God gone; doesn’t He know how desperately we are hurting? Doesn’t He care? Why would He allow such tragedies to occur? Some would even say, “I’ve been trying to follow His will? What now? How do I start again?” I am certain Job very much felt that way as He sat in the ashes scraping his wounds-everything gone. Was this God’s punishment? Was it judgment for Job’s sins? Yet, the scripture tells us that “Job was a righteous man.” Job’s faith had been counted for righteousness, much like ours. So, why the storms?

save meUsed by permission of Ronald Barba for information go to http://www.barba-art.com

In Job 37 we are reminded: “12 The lightning bolts are directed by his hand and do whatever he commands throughout the earth.13 He sends the storms[a](TLB) 13 He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.14 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.”(KJV)

We see here that though there may be times when God sends storms for correction; yet, other times it is “for the land” and other times it is “for mercy.” So, let us explore these three reasons for storms just a little deeper.

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