How to Have Steadfast Faith and Joy No Matter What!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:1,6

How does one have a Faith that is fearless to face all of life’s trials, a hope that sees beyond the storm clouds, and a steadfast, abounding Joy no matter what life brings? Throughout the book of Hebrews, we see these huge warning signs for all those who are “lukewarm” toward Jesus. Warning! Do you really know Him as your Savior and High Priest? Or do you only half-heartedly use His name? Warning! There is no other way to stand before God’s Throne except to have been sprinkled with the blood of Jesus for atonement of your sins. Yet, for those who believe and who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior by asking Him into their heart; the book of Hebrews reveals the magnificence of the Grace we have been given. It gives us also the fundamental keys to unlocking a life of fearless faith, everlasting hope, and steadfast joy that is undaunted by the storms of this life.

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There are three keys to living this Christian life while soaring above all of life’s storms. These are:

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A Revival Prayer When Terror Strikes

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1: 3-6 (NKJV)

If ever there was a time to call all Christians to prayer in our nation, it is now.  Although, I am well aware that my last post from the series in Hebrews was a grave reminder that God hates sin.  Yet, it was also a reminder that God’s Grace is what has held His hand steady from calling all of mankind into judgment now as we so deserve.  He bids that we stand firm in proclaiming the truth of His Great Grace and Love!!  We must lay aside our self-exalting, pride filled heart so that He may use each of us to proclaim the truth of the gospel.  We must stand firm, without fear proclaiming the truth that Jesus Christ is the only way, the truth, and the life.  Without Him, there is no hope for mankind.  We must not be swayed by political “correctness” nor by self-righteous anger.  We must proclaim the truth with humility, love and kindness.  We must pray and study God’s word that we may be ready to stand no matter how stormy it gets.

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A Revival Prayer When Terror Strikes

By Effie Darlene Barba

 

When terror strikes and fear remains

Tears and blood their mingled stains

That tell a tale of horror’s pains

A Broken world so filled with sin

Rejecting God man’s heart within

Held tight by pride-those wretched chains

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Should The World Ever Really Fear God’s Wrath? Absolutely!

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10: 26-31 (NKJV).

As has been the case throughout the book of Hebrews, the writer follows each promise with an earnest plea for the reader to take heed and to listen. He has presented Jesus Christ as Superior to the Prophets, superior to the Angels and as the Great High Priest who can wash away the sins of all who will come to Him for salvation. Now, comes the warning once more, “Oh, do not neglect to come to accept Him as your Savior.” The writer knows, as do I; that some will hear the truth of the gospel and will walk away. Some will say, “there are many ways to God and I am a spiritual person; while in their hearts rejecting the only means of salvation—Jesus Christ.”

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Anyone who believes that Jesus was merely a prophet or good man “tramples the Son of God underfoot.” There are those who wish to be politically correct by saying, “Well, there are many ways to God—following Christ is only one of many”. The ones who proclaim that are counting the blood of the covenant as though it meant nothing—when for Jesus it was everything. Those who have heard the gospel, have felt the urging of the Holy Spirit and have refused to surrender their heart-have effectually insulted God’s Grace toward them.

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One Desperate Man’s Hopeless Cry for Redemption in a Futile Faith

 

19 And so, dear brothers, now we may walk right into the very Holy of Holies, where God is, because of the blood of Jesus. 20 This is the fresh, new, life-giving way that Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain—his human body—to let us into the holy presence of God. 21 And since this great High Priest of ours rules over God’s household, 22 let us go right in to God himself, with true hearts fully trusting him to receive us because we have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean and because our bodies have been washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22 TLB) Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 NKJV)

In such a world filled with great sorrows as has been so evidenced in Orlando over the past two weeks, where is the hope to which I can hold fast? Where do I find such a firm foundation that I might still hold onto a steadfast Joy that is undaunted by life’s storms? Can such hope be founded in mere “spiritualism” or religion? No, for mere spiritualism or religion do not hold the only hope on which we can stand—Jesus Christ!!

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But this Man (Jesus Christ), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:12-14 NKJV

My hope can only be found in Jesus Christ who was the perfect and ultimate sacrifice for my sins. The veil was torn in two as He shed His blood on Calvary’s cross. He was the only perfect sin-bearer. The only High Priest who could rip open the veil and provide a means that I might boldly stand before God’s throne of Grace. Jesus Christ is seated on the right hand of the Father forever making intercession for me.

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Can Anyone Really Escape If They Ignore Jesus?

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
After those days, says the Lord:
I will put My laws into their minds,
And I will write them on their hearts.
And I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.
“And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen,
And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
For all will know Me,
From the least to the greatest of them. “For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more.” When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. Hebrews 8:8-13 (NASB)

The writer of Hebrews continues to plead with these early Jewish Believers not to return to the rituals of their old faith. He reminds them of the prophesies of Jeremiah that there would be a new covenant. Jesus Christ had come to be the final sacrifice. When He did, He made the first covenant to be obsolete.

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But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come,[a] with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Hebrews 9:11-14 NKJV

The new covenant has not become fully realized by the Israel nation yet! However, it will be one day when Christ returns. For the moment, the new covenant has been extended to all who accept Christ as their Savior. This means Jew and Gentile alike.

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Whispers of Love (a poem)

The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

God’s love wraps you tightly in His arms through every trial you walk while singing His love song of joy over you.  There is no fear, no sorrow too great; but that His love will bring hope, joy, and peace to your weary heart and soul.  Then you will soar!! 

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WHISPERS OF LOVE

Whispers of Love flowing all through my life

Even in moments of sorrow or strife

Whispers that came in the dark of the night

Promising Joy with the new morning light

Whispers of hope for the bleakest of day

“Love will find strength and will find its way”

Into your heart and grow from within

Until it flows forth rejoicing and then

Suddenly out of those long and sad years

Love does spring forth out of fountains of tears

Into rivers of joy bursting forth then to see

That love had been there abiding in me

Oh, thank you dear Lord for teaching me love

As Your spirit descends with the wings of a dove

And gathered the pieces of this shattered heart

To weave it with steel, Your glory impart

A Picture so rare, its beauty unmasked

A portrait of you made in brilliant stained glass

Your love had been there inside of me

Even when I had been too blind to see

Whispers of love, it was You all along

Holding me close, I am  your love song!

Our security, our hope all rest upon the strength of God’s love which is always abounding to us. Click To Tweet

Photo used with permission: https://unsplash.com/@ryanjacques

©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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What If Your Feet Slip On Sifting Sand?

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31

So, wanted to pause and tell you about my vacation.  We have been having a great time in San Diego at Sea World and the Marina.  Yesterday we waited for the low tides and headed to the beach to see the tide pools as we changed hotels.  Since I normally do not swim in the ocean I was wearing my shorts and just walking along the shore.  I am not an accomplished swimmer—actually I am a bad swimmer; so, I did not plan on getting wet.  I went with purse on my shoulder and equipped with my cell phone.

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As it was the tide pools were located around the rocks.  So, being a bit daring, I carefully and cautiously made it over the rocks.  The climb was a bit hard.  After all, since so many abdominal surgeries and the destruction of all my abdominal muscles (some even removed); my balance is not always the best.  After seeing the amazing things of nature I then started to climb my way back.  There appeared to be a shortcut where I could walk across the shore line. The water was below my knees even as the waves moved in—no problem!! So I thought.  As I left the rugged rocks and stepped into the water a wave came in the sands beneath my feet suddenly shifted and I found myself floundering, purse, phone and all in 2 feet of water as the next wave crashed into me.  There I was, purse, wallet and clothes all soaked with the ocean.  Then the phone fell into the water and one shoe floated off to shore.  I would have shown you that picture—it was quite a sight; but, alas it did not seem a Kodak moment for me.

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Why Is the New Covenant Our Only Hope?

 

The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:

“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever.’”

Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant. Hebrews 7:18-22 NIV

A new covenant—how precious and wonderful is that!! A covenant not based on my ability to keep the law; rather, a covenant based on the power of God’s oath. For God, swore on His own name to keep this covenant. There was no higher power than He on which He could have sworn.

Of all the people I know; there is no one less worthy and more in need of grace than I. How quickly do I realize that when I see those selfish thoughts that come into play or the moments of quick judgement that come into my heart! My own battle with sin is much like the constant flapping of my wings in the fashion of a hummingbird, rather than that of a soaring eagle. I am forever needing to return to the nectar to satisfy my thirst. I note the inner turmoil when I with all my heart want to display Christ; yet, become irritated by someone at work or annoyed when waiting in line or traffic.  Why do I who has received so much grace, stumble so quickly at giving that same grace?

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Is There Any Hope When Hate and Terror Reigns?

For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God…Wherefore he (Jesus) is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such a high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens (Hebrews 7: 19,26-27)

As a Christian writer, I have tried to always present the truth of the gospel to the best that I can and not enter into politics nor have I ever tried to be politically correct when proclaiming the truth of the gospel. The tragedies in Orlando on 6/10/2016 and 6/12/2016 caused me to feel helpless and grieved over where our world and our nation are at this time. So many tragedies from hate and division. We seem to be a nation divided by race, by religion, and by ethnicity with little hope being presented to change this. Have we who are Christians failed to represent Christ as so beautiful that we could draw others to Him? Have I failed to proclaim His Love in a way that others would hear and desire Him? As we have reached Hebrews chapter 7 in our study; let, me point out the superiority of Jesus Christ as our High Priest.

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The writer of Hebrews has pleaded with his readers that they needed to mature in their faith so they could begin to understand the truth. They had returned to the rituals and the Laws; yet, the law never was able to save anyone. There was always the need for an innocent sacrifice to cover the sins of man. Yet, Jesus was the hope all of this pointed toward. The law can only condemn and open our eyes to the truth that evil exists in each of our hearts. We are so prone to selfish desires with little hope of truly showing any love. The law points that out with such clarity; yet, can never be the solution. There could be no priests from the tribe of Levi who were the representation of the law and of whom they themselves are all sinners in need of a sacrifice to save them. Yet, then there came Jesus who is named “Priest forever after the order of Melchisidec” who was considered King of Righteousness and King of Peace.

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My Little Girl—Poetry Sunday

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them Psalm 127:3-5

As I hurried to try to complete everything at work last Friday, I was filled with the anticipation of my week ahead.  This week I lay aside all the stresses of a busy job to enjoy the wondrous benefits of vacation.  I am heading out later today to California to celebrate with my daughter her 42nd birthday which is tomorrow.  This weekend I have had my youngest grandchild, Annabella Grace.  Seeing the world through the eyes of a young child filled with such wonder and joy, always reminds me of how truly blessed I am.  So my dear readers, forgive me if this week my postings are not exactly on schedule.  I will try to get them out on time; but, California time is different than Missouri so I may be off by a few hours if not days.  Oh, well; I hope to be off that much—but we will see.  This poem I wrote 7 years ago in tribute to my daughter.  Those who have read the story of my life; may know that I did make the hard choice of leaving my little girl to be raised by her Father.  Truly, I believed at the time it was the sacrifice that love demanded given the circumstances.  Right or wrong, I cannot say now.  What I can say it has been God’s wondrous grace that gives me such a beautiful daughter so filled with love, grace and mercy herself.  I love you, Happy Birthday Melissa.  I am on my way so we can celebrate on a weekend of adventure and fun.

 

 

My Little Girl

 

My little girl I see you now

Your baby in your arms

It takes me back to years ago

To you with all your charms

 

I loved you so my precious sweet

I’d give the world for you

Yet life it turned and choices made

I thought were best for you

 

I thought I didn’t have enough

To give my little girl

To keep you safe, to give you more

I sacrificed my world

 

I prayed each day God keep you safe

Beneath His wings of love

That all life’s pain and grief

He’d help you soar above

 

And yet, my love, I see you now

This mother you’ve become

I know that God answered my prayer

With joy, I’m overcome

 

I love you so, my precious one

Though womanhood you’ve found

You’ll always be my little girl

Though years keep turning round

 

The greatest gift I give to you

Is Jesus Christ, God’s son

Who paid the price, that hand in hand

Equipping you this race to run

 

So rest within this perfect truth

He has the perfect plan

For you and now your little girl

He cradles in His hand

My prayer for each of you is that God’s Grace shower down upon you today.  If you have made tough choices in your life, some you have come to regret.  Remember this God’s Grace is bigger than all your failures, regrets and sins.  Turn it all over to Him and watch what He can do with it.

©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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