Poetry Sunday—An Act of Grace

Sometimes, God’s greatest Acts of Grace come to us wrapped in pain, sorrow, or trials.  You might at first, say, “How? Why would that be an act of grace?”  There would perhaps have been a time, I would have wanted to agree with you.  But you see, as I look back over my life; I realize that it was through those darkest of nights that I sought God with all my heart and soul.  It was the lonely broken heart fighting to make sense of abuse, cancer, illness, and loneliness which searched longingly in the scripture.  There in the early hours before dawn as I searched for answers; I found God’s Grace sufficient.  In those early morning hours, I found hope, joy, peace, and love enough to sustain me for another day.  It is a ritual I long for each morning, just to sit in His presence.  Oh, yes, life will bring its trials, its pains, its fears; but, they cannot destroy the hope and the joy that I have found.  In Christ, I may weep for a moment over the sorrows of this world; but, I will awaken before the dawn to sit a little while with Him.  There I am restored.  There I have hope.  There I know how much I am loved.  In Him, is fullness of joy evermore.  broken

An Act of Grace

By Effie Darlene Barba

 

As I look back over my life

Remembering the pain and strife

There were those nights of bitter tears

When I awoke heart full of fears

To stumble then to find my chair

Where I would sit alone in prayer

 

My Bible opened there I’d read

Of hope, of love, of all I need

Your songs of joy poured over me

Salvation’s song had set me free

And suddenly I saw a light

A thought that brought such pure delight

The pain had been Your act of Grace

To Cause this heart to seek Your face

And find in You, my love, my friend

This hope and joy will never end

 

And now, Dear Lord I know it’s true

All that I need I find in you

I leap to rise before daylight

To sit with You, my pure delight

And talk with You about each day

That I might find Your will, Your way

 

My Bible opened there I read

Of hope, of love, of all I need

Your songs of joy pour over me

Salvation’s song has set me free

And as each day with dawning light

New trials come as is life’s plight

Whatever comes it is Your Grace

Allowing me to seek Your face

I find in You, my love, my friend

This hope and joy will never end

The picture is used with permission of Ronald Barba, the artist.  It is protected under copyright and can only be copied or reproduced with permission.  To obtain copies you may go to http://fineartamerica.com/featured/broken-and-contrite-heart-ronald-barba.html

©Effie Darlene Barba, 2016

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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4 Wonderful Results of Knowing the Truth of Your Purpose

What is my purpose in life and why does it matter? Can knowing my purpose transform my life? Can it transform my actions and my reactions? Can purpose transform how I see trials? John’s Gospel from the first word and all the way through was written with one sincere purpose in mind—that “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). He had the privilege of seeing Jesus. He had witnessed all of His miracles. He sat at the feet of Jesus. He felt the awe and wonder of the love of Jesus for him. He witnessed the resurrection and had come to realize that there was no greater purpose in life than to point others to Jesus. The only hope for life eternal was in Jesus. Not only that, the only hope to satisfy the hunger of our souls on this earth is to know Jesus as our friend, our treasure, our Lord and our God. We were created to be loved by God, to walk daily with Him, to talk with Him, and to be bathed in His joy every day. Sin, broke that relationship; but, in Christ that relationship can be restored. John realized the wondrous gift that he had been given. He had been allowed to see Jesus and to walk with Him. He had been given “grace upon grace” (John 1:16). When John looked upon the sorrows, the trials, and the darkness of the world; his heart passionately longed to tell each and every one about Jesus. His life became filled with this one purpose.

Purpose

In Christ, I have been given the greatest gift ever!! In Christ, I have been redeemed, declared a saint, adopted as a child of God, showered with His presence, and His love. The eyes of my heart have been opened to see Him in all His glorious beauty and to desire Him above all else. As that truth grows within my heart, I must share that. God loves me so much that He would not leave me here on this earth one second beyond His having purpose for me. His purpose in my remaining are twofold. 1. That I might grow in my knowledge of Him so that I can fully enjoy His presence. 2. That I might be allowed to share in His Glory by His using my life as a testimony to bring others to Him. When I realize that my purpose is to grow more intimately in love with God (my best friend who loves me more than anyone else could) and then to share His gospel with everyone I meet; then, my life view changes. I think there are 4 main changes that occur when we see our purpose in Christ.

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3 Steps Transforming Doubt into Amazing Faith and Joy

Doubt, fear, worry all seem to be a part of our human nature at times. Interwoven within our humanity there is that part of our brains and emotions that so quickly responds to situations with fear and doubt. Perhaps that is why in the scripture over and over is written, “Do not fear.” God’s way of saying, “I know you don’t understand fully; but, don’t be afraid and don’t worry.” He so gently, so patiently reminds us over and over again. Just like a loving Father who comforts a child; He is constantly reminding us of His presence and His love. He reminds us of His presence. He reminds us of His love. Ever so patiently He teaches us, guides us and comforts us along this journey. How quickly we react to situations at first with fear or doubt!! I know I do and I suspect if you look deep within so do you. Perhaps that is why we so quickly want to condemn Thomas’s doubting; yet, can we? If we focus so much on Thomas’s doubt or “why he failed”; perhaps, we fail to understand the true wonder and grace that faith itself is. Even my faith is a gift of God which He ever so gently prunes and grows within me along the way.

Wait a moment

We know very little about Thomas from the scripture; but, I think we need to look just a little deeper at what we are told about him. Instead of immediately using Thomas as an example of what we “shouldn’t be”; I believe that as we need to look a little deeper at Thomas’ walk to discover what we should be. Thomas is mentioned only as being one of the apostles in Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts. Only in John do we get some insight into who Thomas was. We are told that was called “Didymus” which means twin. Four times in the book of John, Thomas’s conversation is recorded. What is amazing is that Thomas is the only one who is recorded as proclaiming Jesus is God. Jesus had been called “Messiah”, “Teacher”, “Master”, and “Son of God”. Yet, we read in John 20:28 that when Jesus stood before him, Thomas said “My Lord and my God.” What were the steps in Thomas’s walk that perhaps we need to look at with fresh eyes, seeking to know the truth. Then, perhaps when we quit criticizing him so much we can actually see the steps we also need to finding a deeper faith when we face life’s trials.

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How does the Holy Spirit Empower the Christian’s Life?

As we continue in our study through the Gospel of John, Jesus appears to the apostles in the evening after having gone to Father. The apostles were afraid and hiding in a room together wondering what to do next. They felt lost and alone without their master. Then suddenly, Jesus stood in the midst of them and said “Peace be unto you” (John 20:19). They were filled with excitement and gladness. They had hoped that He had returned to stay with them and to lead them.  Then once more He said, “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).

Holy Spirit in Me

Then He breathed on them and endowed them with the Holy Spirit. Then comes the words, “Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:23). At first, I found this verse very difficult to explain; so perhaps I could just skip it. Yet, that is not my style to skip what is hard. I do believe that within this verse also lies truths that will strengthen and empower our own Christian walk. We do know that the apostles were endowed with “special powers” from the Holy Spirit in that they could heal the sick, raise the dead (Acts 10:39-41), and so, perhaps this too was a power given them to forgive or condemn the sins of those whom they met. But I don’t think that fits with scripture elsewhere in that only God has that power. God the Father is the only one who forgives sin through the redemptive work of His Son and the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit. So, I do believe that these words of Jesus were to allow the apostles to understand that the Holy Spirit was in them to give them life and to be the power within them for everything they need.  Only God can forgive sins.  They needed to know and we need to know that the Holy Spirit indwelling us is God in us. He was God’s presence to give them the strength to teach the gospel and

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POETRY SUNDAY: DON’T WEEP MY LOVE

11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary!”She turned and said to Him,[a] “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).”   (John 20:11-15)

What tender compassion, Jesus had here in this scene for Mary.  He waited and delayed His ascension to the Father because of her agonizing grief.  He sees our tears and cries with us each one.  He is a great high priest who is touched by our weakness and understands our grief.  He longs to comfort us there.

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photo courtesy of: http://www.123rf.com/profile_chepko

DON’T WEEP MY LOVE

By Effie Darlene Barba

She gazed into the empty tomb

His body wasn’t there

The pain so great it did consume

Her heart with full despair

 

Such agony to lose the one

She loved more than her life

How could it be that God’s own Son

Had met with so much strife

 

As she wept such bitter tears

Alone with such despair

A gentle voice removed her fears

As Christ was standing there

 

CHORUS

Don’t weep, my love I am here with you

In your darkest night, I will help you through

I will take all your pain and your sorrow too

So you might know my love for you

Your joy and your hope I will renew

 

When my heart breaks from sorrow and care

When life brings me such pain

I look up to see my Savior there

And I hear Him sing this refrain

 

CHORUS

Don’t weep, my love I am here with you

In your darkest night, I will help you through

I will take all your pain and your sorrow too

So you might know my love for you

Your joy and your hope I will renew

 

Repeat Chorus

Don’t weep, my love I am here with you

In your darkest night, I will help you through

I will take all your pain and your sorrow too

So you might know my love for you

Your joy and your hope I will renew

©Effie Darlene Barba, 2016

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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Arise From Your Tears To Know This Wondrous Truth!

Arise From Your Tears To Know This Wondrous Truth!

In the last post we looked at Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb before ascending to the Father. Instead of running home to be with the Father (which is what His heart longed for); he tarried for a moment to comfort Mary in her agony. Just think of the grand celebration as the greatest victory ever to be won was finished. Jesus had risen from the grave after an agonizing death on the cross. The victory celebration was awaiting Him. How He loved the Father and longed to see His face. Yet, with all that He tarried for a moment to give hope to Mary. Her agony touched Him with so much compassion. He would then go to the Father before He appeared again to the apostles. But I also, like Jesus, want to  tarry here for a moment and look at the rest of the words He spoke to Mary Magdalene. “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17)

God's beloved Child

 

Mary Magdalene had just called Jesus, Master. He is our master; yet, Jesus wanted her to realize that because of His death and resurrection—He is so much more!!  Now, “Mary go tell my brothers and sisters, I go to my Father and because I go victorious to my Father—He is your Father as well. God the creator of the Universe, the GREAT I AM is Your God and Your Father.” Mary, get up from your weeping and go tell them the good news. He would return in the evening after seeing the Father to anoint the apostles with a special anointing of the Holy Spirit by breathing into them life—eternal life. He would endow them with special powers even before the day of Pentecost.  But here we are given a gift that is so much more than our hearts can fully understand!!

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Can Your Greatest Agony Actually Turn To Joy? How?

Can Your Greatest Agony Actually Turn To Joy? How?

The blast of the gun!! The horror in the middle of the night!! Trembling as I emerged from the bedroom to see my husband gasping for air. Blood poured from his mouth. The gun still in his now limp hand. I gently tipped back the recliner to open his airway; but the bullet had gone through his head. I called the ambulance. A cousin who had been visiting and witness, stood paralyzed. My oldest son screaming from the back bedroom—he couldn’t breathe. I opened the windows then went back to making phone calls for help. It was in Mexico, so there was no 911, the ambulance was very slow. Agony, rage filled my heart. I had watched my husband battle inside the monster of mental illness. Too proud as a physician to get real help, he had tried to go it alone. Mental illness had won. Or had it? All the struggles we had faced as a family; always hoping, always dreaming that he would be well one day. How I had believed that with enough love, he could be made well?

God's light

The agony and despair was more than I could bare; yet, as the day moved on there came a whispering sound—deep beneath, barely audible nearly drowned out by agony’s roar. A whisper of God—assuring me that my husband was now at peace—that he had found Christ a few months before. He was with God. He was healed. In the depth of agony, deeply hidden in the recesses was this promise. Oh, don’t get me wrong–suicide is NOT the answer for anyone–God’s desire is that we find hope here in Him; but neither is it the unpardonable sin.  The scars of all those years, the years in the midst of the illness—the scars of that pain filled night remain with me and my children. They blare like sirens reminding us that this world is broken. The scars remind us of the darkness. Only when you know the darkness, can you see the true light shining into that darkness with hope, joy, and love.

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Can the Right Perspective Make Us Bold Against Tragedies?

Can the Right Perspective Make Us Bold Against Tragedies?

When tragedies come into our lives it is hard to stand up or to move. Despair, anxiety, and fear paralyze our hearts. It is hard to see beyond the tragedy. That seemed to be the case with the apostles that day. All but John were far away as they stood beneath the cross when Jesus died. There stood John, Mary and 3 other women. What next? How would they bury Jesus? Did they even have time to think of that? They were certainly not people of financial means. The body of those that died on the cross were usually thrown into one large common grave.

vision

Out of the crowds came one unexpected disciple that boldly went before Pilate to request the body. That was Joseph of Arimathea. We do not know a lot about Joseph of Arimathea; but, we do know that he was a rich man. We also know that he was a member of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish legislation). We are told by John that he had been “secret about his discipleship” out of fear. Yet, he boldly stepped forward to request the body so that he could place the body of Jesus in a “tomb that had never been used.” All of this was very important to later prove the resurrection of Jesus. All had been meticulously orchestrated by God. So what in the midst of this tragedy caused Joseph of Arimathea to be so bold and Nicodemus to join him? The keys to his boldness is the same keys that we might hold fast to when tragedy hits our own lives. I want to share with you the four keys I found in scripture that explains his boldness and faith at that moment. The same 4 keys that can help you and I when tragedies come as well.

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Poetry Sunday-Grace Upon Grace Poured Out Upon Me

 

O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic and glorious and excellent is Your name in all the earth! You have displayed Your splendor above the heavens….When I see and consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,  The moon and the stars, which You have established, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him?  Psalm 8 (AMP)

God loves me

 

Grace upon Grace Poured Out upon Me

By Effie Darlene Barba


Jesus the word the truth and the light

Portrait of God’s perfect Glory-Delight

His Grace upon Grace poured out upon me

That I from these chains- forever set free


The King above Kings lay aside His throne

Because He loved me-my sin to atone

From Glorious splendor to humblest birth

Submitting to pain and sorrows on earth


Imagine the perfectly righteous one

God’s precious delight-His Dear Beloved Son

Would willingly choose to suffer such loss

Beaten, rejected He died on a cross


What kind of love, oh how can it be?

He suffered all this for you and for me

Despite all my sin and my foolish pride

He bids me to come-in His love abide


Open my eyes, Lord, always to see

Your love and your Glory there before me

Laying aside all my foolish desires

Until you’re the treasure my soul aspires



Jesus the Word the Truth and the Light

Portrait of God’s perfect Glory-Delight

His Grace upon Grace poured out upon me

That I from these chains forever am free

God loves You.  He is standing with open arms, desiring to fill your heart with His peace and His Joy.  Won’t you say yes, today?

 

photo courtesy of unsplash.com/grakozy  The writing I added.

Amplified Bible (AMP)Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

 

©Effie Darlene Barba, 2016

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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One Order Broken and God’s Grace Displayed To the World

One Order Broken and God’s Grace Displayed To the World

 

 

Throughout the Gospel of John it is reported over and over that his greatest desire is so that you will know the truth so that you might believe and receive Grace upon Grace. John saw the awe, the wonder and the beauty of God’s Grace toward man. He was amazed by how God fulfilled every Old Testament scripture that foretold of Jesus. John longed for his people to realize that truth. After Jesus had died on the cross, John stood and watched alongside Mary, the mother of Jesus. Then, what happened immediately next John saw as an amazing portrait of both God’s Sovereignty and God’s Grace to the world. He saw this as so important that he swears to its truth and its power to make you believe. What was so astonishing about this and why did John see it as so powerful a truth?

Sovereignty and grace

Let’s read the scripture first. “31 The Jewish leaders didn’t want the victims hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath at that, for it was the Passover), so they asked Pilate to order the legs of the men broken to hasten death; then their bodies could be taken down.32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus; 33 but when they came to him, they saw that he was dead already, so they didn’t break his. 34 However, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and blood and water flowed out. 35 I saw all this myself and have given an accurate report so that you also can believe.[a] 36-37 The soldiers did this in fulfillment of the Scripture that says, “Not one of his bones shall be broken,” and, “They shall look on him whom they pierced” (John 19).

So what was so amazing about all this?

5 AMAZING TRUTHS

1. GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER ALL. The Roman soldier had been given a direct order to break the legs. Perhaps the Jewish priests had considered the scripture that “bone would be broken” and of certain they knew that an appropriate sacrificial lamb had to have no broken limbs. Was that part of their desire here? Had they wanted to prove that Jesus for certain was not the sacrificial lamb? Yet, the roman soldier when he looked upon Jesus; did not break His legs. That was a direct disobedience and would not have been in character for a soldier; except that God’s Sovereign Will interceded and the Soldier pierced the side of Jesus where blood and water poured forth. Without knowing a word of Jewish scripture, the roman soldier was fulfilling the Scripture concerning Jesus. Think about it. That is Amazing!!

2. GOD’S PROMISES ARE TRUE. In Zechariah 12, God yet foretells that one day Jerusalem will mourn for “whom they have pierced.” Jesus in every way was God’s Word made alive and visible. Every promise of Grace fulfilled. “4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53).

3. UNDENIABLE PROOF OF HIS DEATH—this was an undeniable proof of the death of Christ, so that the miracle of His resurrection could not be questioned either.

4. REDEMPTION’S GRACE FLOWED FORTH: The blood of Christ poured forth from his side as most likely the sword pierced his heart. “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelations 1)

5. LIVING WATER POURED FORTH. For all who come to the fountain of living water, we are promised that He will satisfy our thirst. Life Abundant and Rich can be found in Christ.

CONCLUSION: God’s Sovereignty caused even an Unbelieving Roman Soldier to disobey his order so that every scripture could be fulfilled. Isn’t that amazing? More Amazing is that He loved me so much that He took upon Himself all my sin, my shame, and my sorrow so that I might find redemption and life abounding with Joy in Him!! Do you know Him? Do you believe in Him?

The Song I chose for you today is: Oh my Soul Arise

photo is by permission https://unsplash.com/jonathanbean  I added the words.

Living Bible (TLB) The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

©Effie Darlene Barba, 2016

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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