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Psalm Friday

Boasting in the Lord
Psalm Friday
Psalm 18 continued

* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 18 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

A few weeks ago we began looking at Psalm 18. This psalm is a song of thanksgiving and praise to God for the many times God had delivered David from his enemy. David desired always to keep these memories fresh in his mind and to speak of them often. It was his passion to share with others what God had rescued him from. Psalm 18 is a beautiful Psalm full of poetry and imagery of a God who fights for and protects His people.

We started out by looking at the first six verses of this Psalm. In verses one, two, and three David is praising the Lord because He had heard his cries and rescued him. Verses four through six tell us that God had rescued David from the chains of the enemy. Last week as we dug into verses seven through nineteen, I posed the question to you “does prayer matter?” We saw in Scripture how prayer moved earth and heaven, and raised storms to overthrow in a moment the enemies of God's people. Things were bad for David before he prayed, but they were much worse for his enemies as soon as his petition had gone up to heaven.

Did prayer make a difference in David’s life? Does prayer matter to us today? ABSOLUTELY! A trustful heart, by calling upon the divine aid of the Almighty God, turns the tables on its enemies. Prayer moves God and when God moves not only do the mountains quake, the enemy flees.

Today we will spend our time together digging into verses twenty through twenty-eight of Psalm 18. Here’s today’s question~ Is it wrong, prideful, or boastful to be proud of who we are and what we are doing? Are you ready? Let’s dig in.

Verse 20- “The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness.” If we look at this Psalm as prophetical of the coming Messiah, these strong claims to righteousness are easily understood, because the garments of the Lord were and are white as snow; but to look at this as David proclaiming himself to be righteous has lead some to think of David as arrogant and boastful. Yet, if we look at this text for exactly what it is and not make a “mountain out of a mole hill”, there will be no difficulty in seeing its true meaning. Stay with me here, we’re going to dig down rather deep today. God’s grace and His gift of righteousness have been freely given to us and are in no way dependent upon anything we have done or ever will do. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, we have been clothed with the garments of grace and righteousness and we wear them not to boast in ourselves, but to boast in what the Lord God Almighty has done for us. Because we have been marked with this gift of righteousness we belong to the Lord, and as His rule of justice, He will avenge and protect His people. David's early troubles began with the persecutions of King Saul who no doubt did not have a relationship with the Lord. His envy and hatred of David resulted from the mere fact that David had been clothed with the righteousness of God’s grace and had chosen to wear that proudly as a man after God’s own heart.

Before God, David, the man after God's own heart, was a humble sinner, but before his enemies he could proudly proclaim that he had been “rewarded according to the cleanness of my hands” and the righteousness of his life. There is no self-righteousness or arrogance in an honest man knowing that he is honest, nor even in his believing that God rewards him through divine intervention because of his honesty. Within the Kingdom of heaven, grace reigns supreme. The cleanness of David’s was a result of the grace and mercy the Lord bestowed upon him. David was well aware of the fact that without God, he was nothing. David could maintain his integrity and with much passion and conviction defend his character because he knew that he was in right standing with the Lord.

Verse 21- In this verse we see the purity of David’s heart. He has “kept the ways of the Lord” and “has not wickedly depart from them”. Picture, if you will, David as one on a journey with the Lord. Throughout this journey he has stayed on the road set before him. “Kept” in the original Hebrew language comes from the word shâmar meaning to hedge about, to guard; to protect, attend to, to look narrowly at, to watch. David had “kept the ways of the Lord” by protecting and guarding their time together. His proper perspective was fleshed out through a righteous life. David lived habitually in communion with his God. Not only did he protect that time, he did not “depart” from the truths God revealed to him. He obey the commands of the Lord, that’s why he was able to say he was a righteous man.

Verse 22- “For all His judgments were before me.” The word, the character, and the actions of God should be always before our eyes; we should learn, consider, and reverence them. Men forget what they do not wish to remember, but the excellent attributes of the Most High are objects of the believer's affectionate and delighted admiration (C.H. Spurgeon). We should keep the image of God so constantly before us that we become conformed to it. Our love and complete devotion to the Lord is what enables us to be men and women of integrity. “I did not put away His statutes from me.” “To put away” literally means to be without. When we are without God’s Word in our hearts it will be evident by through our daily actions and attitudes. Backsliders begin with dusty Bibles, and go on to filthy garments.

Verse 23- “I was also blameless before Him.” Whatever sinful men might think of Him, David felt that he had the good opinion of his God. David is able to proudly say, “I kept myself from my iniquity”, only because he had kept the judgments of the Lord ever before Him and walked down the path the Lord had set for him to travel. God’s grace is evident when the most evil parts of our nature have been well guarded. If the weakest link in the chain is not broken, the stronger links will be safe enough. David's impulsive temper might have led him to kill Saul when he had him in his power, but grace enabled him to keep his hands clean of the blood of his enemy. How wonderful it is when we are able to stand and say that through the power of God in our lives we are able to deny our fleshly desires and live completely in the Spirit allowing Him to control all that we are about.

Verse 24- God first gives us holiness, and then rewards us for it. We are his workmanship (Ephesians 2:10); vessels made to honor and praise (Revelation 4:11); and when we were made the honor and righteousness of God is not withheld from us because we are created in His image (Genesis 1:26). Instead of receiving, He gives us the reward of His grace and we are in turn to honor Him by the way we live out that grace.

Verse 25- God is just in His dealings with the sons of men, and gives to each man according to his measure. “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; and with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless.” No rule can be more fair that God judges each man accordingly, to ungodly men more terrible, and to the generous more honorable. Note that even the merciful need mercy; no amount of generosity to the poor, or forgiveness to enemies, can set us beyond the need of mercy. Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner.

Verse 26- “With the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.” God renders to men according to their deeds, not in a vindictive manner but in a judicial sense. There is a similar sentence in Leviticus 26:21-24, where God says, “and if you walk contrary unto (or perversely with) Me, then will I also walk contrary unto (or perversely, or roughly, or at random with) you.” God will do whatever is necessary to show that He is God even to the most stubborn of hearts. The Jewish tradition was that the manna tasted according to each man's mouth; certainly God shows himself to each individual according to his character.

Verse 27- “For You will save the humble people.” We are a needy people. God made us in this fashion. Nothing and no one can meet our needs except the Almighty Powerful God. “But will bring down the haughty looks.” Those who look down on others with scorn shall be looked down upon with contempt. The Lord detests a proud look. What a reason for repentance and humiliation! How much better to be humble than to provoke God to humble us in His wrath!

Verse 28- “For You will light my lamp.” In our darkest hour, light will shine through; a lamp will be lit and the light of His glory will radiate through. Lamps lit by the light of His glory cannot be put out by the enemy. The Lord removes all the gloom and misery of sorrow and enables His child to rejoice with exceedingly great joy. The lighting of one’s lamp is a cheerful moment indeed in the midst of the darkest of times, but the lifting up of the light of God's countenance upon one’s heart is by far a much happier time. It is said that the poor in Egypt will deprive themselves of bread in order to buy oil for their lamp, so that they will not sit in darkness; we could greatly benefit to part with all earthly comforts if the light of God's love could constantly cause our souls to rejoice in Him.

Is it wrong, prideful, or boastful for a godly man or woman to be proud of who they are and what they are doing? A godly man has a clear conscience before the Lord, and knows himself to be upright; is he to deny his own consciousness, and to despise the work of the Holy Spirit, by hypocritically making himself out to be worse than he is? A godly man values his integrity very highly, or else he would not be a godly man at all; is he to be called proud because he will not readily lose the jewel of an honest character? A godly man can see that because of the divine sovereignty of God, uprightness and truth are in the long run sure to bring their own reward; may he not, when he sees that reward bestowed in his own life, praise the Lord for it? Should he not show forth the faithfulness and goodness of his God? David in these verses is able to sing a song of good conscience, because he has safely out ridden a storm of humiliation, persecution, and abuse. There is no fear of our viewing the writer as one who set too high a price upon his own moral character. Why? Because David is not boasting in himself, but rather in his God who has performed all things for him.

“This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24


A word from the Word

This morning I spent some time going through my Scripture box. I have an index card box that I use to file verses in that I've memorized or verses that have encouraged me or ones that have challenged me in some form or fashion. Today I want to share with you a few of those verses that once again struck me as vital in the season of life that I am in.

"In heaven I have only You, and on this earth You are all I want. My body and mind my fail, but You are my strength and my choice forever."
Psalm 73:25-26
~ Is God your first choice? Is He your all? ~
"I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."
Galatians 5:16
~ Are you walking in the power of the Holy Spirit or are you allowing your fleshly desires to rule your life? ~
"For Ezra had prepared in his heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel."
Ezra 7:10
~ First, Ezra studied the Word of God for himself. He had daily time with God. Second, he practiced in his own life what God had taught him. Then, and only then, was he able to share with others what God had done for him. Is your heart prepared to hear from the Lord? Are you daily seeking after Him and His righteousness? Are you living out what He's called you to do? Are you sharing with others how God has worked His will in you? ~
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9
~ Do you have sin in your life right now that needs to be brought to the Lord? Confess it to Him. Repent and turn from it. He will forgive you and wash you white as snow. ~
"I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High."
Psalm 9:1-3
~ When was the last time you praised the Lord Most High for all that He's done for you? ~
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Galatians 5:1
~ Are you living in the freedom Christ died for to make possible or are you moping around in the shoulda, coulda, woulda's of life past, bound by the enemies chains? Beloved, Christ came to set you free. Arise and bask in His freedom today!~
I would love to hear from you. What verses is the Lord engraving on your heart right now?


Then Sings My Soul Saturday

It is a beautiful day at my house. As I opened all the blinds in my kitchen this morning to let the sun shine through I couldn't help but stop and give the Lord a little praise. Our God is great! You can look all around and see His mighty hand. I can see Him in the flowers that are blooming, in the bees that are buzzing all around looking for pollen, in the clouds that fill up the ocean blue skies, in the dirty feet of my children who have played outside all day, in the eyes of my little one who laughs as she swings back and forth in the coolness of the breeze. Where have you seen His mighty hand in your life?

God is everywhere, He is great, and He deserves our praise.

Have a blessed, Jesus-filled day, sweet friends! To enjoy other inspiring songs and stories visit my friend Amy over at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders.


Psalm Friday

Does Prayer Matter?
Psalm Friday
Psalm 18 continued

* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 18 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

Last week we began looking at Psalm 18. This psalm is a song of thanksgiving and praise to God for the many times God had delivered David from his enemy. David desired always to keep these memories fresh in his mind and to speak of them often. It was his passion to share with others what God had rescued him from. Psalm 18 is a beautiful Psalm full of poetry and imagery of a God who fights for and protects His people.

Let’s pick up where we left off. Last week we looked at the first six verses of this Psalm, today we’ll being in verse seven and continue through to verse nineteen. But, before we do, let’s briefly review verses one through six. In verses one, two, and three David is praising the Lord because He had heard his cries and rescued him. Verses four through six tell us that God had rescued David from the chains of the enemy. Now, let’s dig in. As you read through these verses keep this question in mind, “does prayer matter?”

Verse 7- “Then the earth shook and trembled.” When God stands to fight for His people even the most solid and immovable things feel the force of His awesome power. Prayer has shaken houses, opened prison doors, and made the hardest of hearts melt. Prayer rings the alarm bells of heaven, and the Master of the house rises to come to the rescue of His people, shaking all things beneath his feet. “The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, because He was angry.” He who set the pillars of the universe in place can make them shake in their holes. The huge roots of the towering mountains are torn up when the Lord rises in anger to defeat the enemies of His people. How will mere man be able to stand against God when the very mountains quake with fear?

Verse 8- “Smoke went up from His nostrils.” To say that smoke went up from His nostrils is an expression used to communicate fierce wrath. Since breath from the nostrils is heated by strong emotion, the figure portrays the Almighty Deliverer as pouring forth smoke in the heat of his wrath. Nothing makes God more angry as an injury inflicted upon His children. The opening of His mouth is enough to destroy His enemies; “and devouring fire from His mouth.” This fire was not temporary, but steady and lasting; “Coals were kindled by it.” The whole passage is intended to depict God's descent to the help of His child, accompanied by an earthquake and storm: at the majesty of His appearing the earth rocks, the clouds gather like smoke, and the lightning as flaming fire devours God’s enemy, setting the world on fire.

Verse 9- In the midst of the terror of the storm Yahweh, the Avenger, descended, causing all of heaven to bow or bend beneath His foot “He bowed the heavens also, and came down.” The thickest gloom concealed his splendor, “with darkness under His feet;” He fought as a warrior in clouds of smoke and dust. Darkness is no hindrance to God; its intense gloom He makes His tent and secret pavilion.

Verse 10- Cherubim are frequently represented as the chariot of God. “And He rode upon a cherub, and flew.” God enlisted nature to be His helper, and even the powers of the air are obedient to His commands: “He flew upon the wings of the wind.” The Lord comes flying when mercy is the task set before Him, but He lingers long when sinners are being wooed to repent. God’s flight to the rescue of His people is majestic and swift like that of the eagle. As the eagle soars in easy splendor with wings outspread, without violent flapping and exertion, so comes the Lord with majesty of omnipotence to the aid His own.

Verse 11- The storm thickened, and the clouds pouring forth torrents of rain combined to form the secret chamber of the invisible but wonder-working God. God hid Himself inside the thickness of the clouds, but David, by faith, knew that He was there; “He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.” Although we may not see God, by faith, we can know that He is working in secret for our eternal good. It’s easy to see God in the sunshine and the calm, but the wise man and woman can see Him in the midst of the storm.

Verse 12- All at once the artillery of heaven was let loose; the brightness of lightning lit up the clouds as the glory of Him who was hidden in the dark clouds shone forth. Showers of hailstones and coals of fire were thrown upon the enemy. The lightning lit up the clouds and caused them to look as if they were on fire and then hailstones and coals of fire filled with the wrath of God terrified the sons of men.

Verse 13- And then the thunder of the mighty voice of God was heard. “The Lord thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice.” There is coming a day when God will render judgment upon the enemy once and for all. Even in the midst of this judgment, just as David found here, the believer will find peace in hearing God’s voice.

Verse 14- The lightnings were shot forth as arrows upon the enemy and “scattered them.” Boastful sinners prove to be great cowards when God Almighty enters the scene and meets them face to face. They despise His words, and “talk big”, but when it comes to hand to hand combat with the All-Powerful creator of the universe, they can’t run away fast enough. The glittering flames, and the fierce bolts of fire “vanquished them”, literally destroyed them. God is never at a loss for weapons. God's arrows never miss their target; in them are sure wrath and everlasting death.

Verse 15- God’s assault was so massive and powerful that the order of nature was changed, and the bottoms of rivers and seas were laid bare. “The channels of sea were seen;” and the depths of the earth were disrupted till “the foundations of the world were uncovered.” Can you see just how powerful God’s wrath is? If “the blast of the breath of Your nostrils,” is so terrible and mighty, can you imagine what the hand of the Lord will do? Just a whisper of the voice of God makes the whole earth quake in fear.

Verse 16- The rescue. The Author is divine, “He sent;” the work is heavenly, “from above;” the deliverance is marvelous, “He drew me out of many waters.” Here David was like another Moses, drawn from the water and saved for a greater purpose. The swiftness of the enemy shall not drown the man whose God sits upon the floods to restrain its fury.

Verse 17- When we have been rescued, we must give Him all praise and glory by confessing our own weakness, and remembering the powers of the conquered enemy. God's power deserves all honor. Our great spiritual adversary is a “strong enemy” indeed, much too strong for poor, weak creatures like ourselves, but we have been delivered from his chains now and forevermore. In our weakness He is strong.

Verse 18- David’s enemy took advantage of his time of oppression and tried to overtake him, but God was his Protector and support; “the Lord was my stay.”

Verse 19- “He also brought me out into a broad place.” David had been confined by the enemy, but now he was free. No longer was he held captive. He now rested in the wide open fields of promise and peace given to him by his Protector. Not only did the Lord defeated David’s enemy, but He lead David into a land of freedom; freedom to be who He had created him to be. As believers in Jesus Christ we possess more than we could ever imagine, a peace without limits and joy beyond measure. “He delivered me, because He delighted in me.” Free grace lies at the foundation. Rest assured, if we go deep enough, sovereign grace is the truth which lies at the bottom of every well of mercy (C.H. Spurgeon). Why God delights in us is a question that has no answer and a mystery even the angels cannot solve; but that He does delight in His beloved child is certain and a promise we can cling to.

See how prayer moves earth and heaven, and raises storms to overthrow in a moment the enemies of God's people. Things were bad for David before he prayed, but they were much worse for his enemies as soon as his petition had gone up to heaven. A trustful heart, by calling upon the divine aid of the Almighty God, turns the tables on its enemies. Prayer moves God and when God moves not only do the mountains quake, the enemy flees.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
James 4:10


Beijing 2008 Olympics- Will you join us?

Beijing 2008 Olympics
Beijing, China

When my family and I moved to NC almost 4 years ago we found a local Chinese restaurant right off the bat. I mean who can go too long without some Chinese food!?! Because we frequented this particular restaurant, we began developing a relationship with one of the waitresses. Her American name was Jane. She was from Beijing. Jane had come to the United States to work so that her family could have some money. In one of our many conversations she told us that she had left her baby in China with her parents and would not see her again for over 2 years. My heart broke for her. I could not imagine the pain she was going through. My man and I began talking with her about Jesus and His love for her. She told us that she had a Bible and would read it often. We invited her several times to come to church with us, but because she worked on Sunday's, she could not. We shared Jesus with her as much as we could- there was a language barrier between us, but I know God was working in her heart. Every time we would leave I would hug her and tell her Jesus loved her. She would smile and say thank you.

Jane's heart was pure gold and she was extremely selfless. She would give us gifts every time we were there and she would call us on special occasions; Mother's day, Father's Day, birthday's, Christmas. One day we went into the restaurant and she was gone. I asked about her and no one would tell us where she went. I don't know what happened to Jane or where she is now. I think about her and pray for her often. She gave me a handmade paper mobile and I have it hanging in my kitchen. Every time I wash dishes I pray for her protection from the enemy. Jane will always have a very special place in my heart.

Gifts from Jane.

A few weeks ago during our family prayer time we read about a little girl named "Doris". She is a young Christian Chinese girl in the middle of a country that wants nothing to do with Jesus Christ. We read about other families who are suffering because of their faith. We talked with our kids about men and women who have given their lives for the sake of Christ. Faithful men and women who have given all they have just to share Jesus with one person. God may call our children to go to places where it's extremely dangerous just to own a Bible. What are we doing right now to prepare them for the tasks that God will one day call them to?

This year the 2008 Olympic Games will take place in Beijing, China. This will be an awesome opportunity for Christians in China to share Jesus' love with others; and yet, it will be an extremely dangerous time for believers. More than 100 Christians have been kicked out of China already this year. They have been suspected of being secret missionaries. The Olympic Games are set to begin in 114 days, August 8, 2008, at 8:08 p.m.

My family and I are committing to pray for these Olympics and the people of China everyday for the next 114 days. We are praying for protection of the believers who are there and will be sharing their faith. We are praying for the Chinese government and the lost souls in China. Will you and your family join us in this? I wish I could go to China, but I can't. But, what I can do is pray for them. We can all come together as the body of Christ and pray for the people of China, that their hearts will be soften to the Gospel of Jesus.

From now until the Olympics I will have a specific prayer need for the Chinese people listed in the sidebar of the blog everyday (if you get new posts via your email, please make sure to visit the blog site so that you can get the prayer request for the day). As you and your family sit together for your evening meal or when you tuck your kiddos in bed at night, or whenever you get the opportunity lift this prayer need up to the Lord. My kids and I made a poster about China and hung it in our dining room to remind us of the people of China and their needs. We are working through an activity book about China and believers who live there. We want our children to know that yes, sometimes God calls us to do things that are scary, but He will always be with us and will protect us. We want them to see how important it is to share their faith and how to do it. We want them to learn how to pray for others who are giving all they have to be able to share Jesus with a lost and dieing world.

Our poster includes: China's flag, a picture of Chinese children, a map of China, "God loves you" in Chinese, a few facts about China, Olympic clock countdown, and daily prayer requests.

If you and your family would like to join us in this effort, please leave us a comment. We are asking that you commit to pray for China for the next 114 days as we countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I pray that we can all come together as a united force for the sake of the Gospel.

9) After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10) and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." Revelation 7:9-10
15) And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."
Mark 16:15

You can find out more about China and its people on these websites: Here you can find a free downloadable activity book about China. Here you will find The Voice of the Martyrs magazine.

So, how about it? Will you commit with us to pray for China for the next 114 days? Someones soul may depend on it!


Psalm Friday

Live in Freedom
Psalm Friday
Psalm 18

* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 18 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

Psalm 18 is David's thanksgiving and praise of God for the many times God had delivered him from his enemy. David desired always to keep these memories fresh in his mind and to speak of them often. It was his passion to share with others what God had rescued him from. Psalm 18 is a beautiful Psalm full of poetry and imagery of a God who fights for and protects His people.

Today we are only going to look at the first six verses of this Psalm. We’ll pick up with more next Friday.

1 I love You, Lord; You are my strength.2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my Savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.
3 I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and He saved me from my enemies.
4 The ropes of death entangled me; floods of destruction swept over me.
5 The grave wrapped its ropes around me; death laid a trap in my path.
6 But in my distress I cried out to the Lord; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from His sanctuary; my cry to Him reached His ears.
Psalm 18:1-6

Have you ever found yourself smack dab in the middle of a trap of the enemy; bound so tightly by his chains you could hardly breathe? When I first read these verses; my initial thoughts were “OH. MY. WORD. THAT IS SO ME!” I have been entangled by the ropes of death. Not physically speaking, but there was a time in my life that the enemy had such a strong hold over me that my spiritual death was imminent. I had literally nowhere to go, no person to cry out to except God Almighty. It was either cry out to the only One who could breathe life back into my dying soul or close my eyes and give up. I was worn out and in no condition to continue fighting the enemy. The enemy had beaten me. He had won. His power of me was great.

As I lay there in that moment of life or death I remembered that there was a God who would fight for His people. I remembered that there was a God who desired to breathe life into the dying. With what little strength I had left I cried out to the only One who had the power to give me life and break the chains of the enemy. God heard my cries. I believe He had been sitting on His throne waiting patiently to hear me cry out to Him. God not only heard my pleas, but He acted. He gave me strength; mmm, let me rephrase that, He became my strength. The chains of death no longer held me captive; my God had redeemed me. He breathed new life into my soul and gave me a new story to tell. He set me free.

Here’s the thing though. God has really been speaking to me lately about living in freedom. Yes, God set me free from the chains of the enemy and yes He breathed new life into me. So, why are there times when I don’t live in the freedom He’s blessed me with? Why are there times when I keep silent instead of shouting from the rooftops that there is a God who loves and forgives and sets free the captives? Jesus said Himself, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36) It’s not a maybe kind of freedom. It’s not an “if I feel good” kind of freedom. God’s freedom is a forever freedom; a freedom that FOREVER frees us from the chains of the enemy. Friends, it’s time that we live in the freedom that Christ died to give us. No more walking around with our heads hanging low singing the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s, but shouting from the rooftops “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free!”

When David penned Psalm 18, he was praising God for rescuing him from the enemy. The love that David had for his God was an intimate, loyal kind of love. He never forgot what God had rescued him from, he just didn’t wallowing in it. He lived in the freedom God had blessed him with. I want live in the freedom God has blessed me with. I want to live that abundant life in Christ. I want others to see Jesus in me and want Him to. I want to be a woman who desires God more than anything else in life. How about you?

Questions to Answer- Thoughts to Ponder
*Are you living in the freedom God has blessed you with? Or, are you still holding on to the past wishing you could have done it differently? Beloved, we can’t do anything to change our pasts, but we can allow God to use our pasts to change the future.
*If there something in your life that you need to be freed of today? Cry out to God. He’s waiting to hear your voice. He’s ready to breaks those chains.

Precious Father, You are my strength. You are the rock upon which I will stand forever. I praise You today because You have set me free; You have broken the chains of the enemy. You have set me free to sing Your praises. Help me to always live in Your freedom. May I not look back, but fix my eyes on You the Author and Finisher of my faith. Thank You for hearing my cries. I bless Your name.


Getting to Know You- X's 5

I've been curious to know more about all of you who visit By His Grace. I've been amazed to see where some of ya'll are from: Washington State, Ohio, Texas, Louisana, Tennessee, Missouri, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, Minnesota, New Zealand and New South Wales, just to name a few. So, I thought we would have a little "getting to know you" fellowship. I saw this idea over at Amanda's blog who saw it on another blog, who saw it on another blog, and so on and so forth.

Here's what we'll do...

*I will share 5 facts about myself and then tag 5 of my bloggy friends to share a little about themselves. If you don't have a blog and have dropped by for a visit, please leave a comment completing the statements with facts about yourself. I want all of us to take part in this.
*Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
*Complete the statements listing 5 facts about yourself.
*Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
*Let them know they are tagged by leaving them a comment on their blog.

I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you better. Remember, even if you don't have a blog, please leave me a comment completing the statements. Have fun friends!!

What I was doing 10 years ago: (1998)
*finishing up my first junior year of college
*just started dating my husband-to-be
*getting ready to serve as a summer youth intern at a local church
*working in the college bookstore
*moving in with a family who had been lifelong friends

5 things on my to-do list today:
*take my daughter to do her state testing
*finish the laundry- Does it ever end!?!
*return some phone calls
*wrap up my studies for teaching tomorrow night
*get the van

5 snacks I enjoy: beings that my man and I on are a diet right now-
*carrots and broccoli- raw
*Target brand fruit smoothie kits- yummo!
*Skinny Cow frozen ice cream treats- You have got to try these! Low cal, great taste, and they're big!

5 things I would do if I were a billionarie:
*pay off my churches building debt and give big time to missions
*give money for my dad's church to build their first church building
*pay off all my families debt and buy us all big houses close to each other on a horse ranch, and have raise golden retrievers
*put up money for my kiddos college
*my man and I would go on the honeymoon were haven't been able to have yet
*I know this is number 6, but I would save, save, save

5 bad habits:
*obviously food choices, that's why I'm on a diet
*staying up too late
*not re-painting my toe nails until most of the old paint has worn off
*not pairing up everyone's socks which leads to baskets full of miss-matched socks
*always running late

5 places I've lived:
*Panama City, FL
*Graceville, FL
*Tyner, NC
*Dothan, Alabama
*Youngsville, NC

5 jobs I've had
*summer youth intern
*college bookstore clerk
*purchasing agent for a vet. supply company
*insurance rep.

Ok. Now it's your turn. I'm tagging (and yes I know this is more than 5)


Then Sings My Soul Saturday- "Miracle"

Ok, so I'm a day late this week for Then Sings My Soul Saturday. Hope you all don't mind. My family and I were visiting Thailand yesterday in search of the royal white elephant. Our journey started off with a visit to China and a look into their culture. We read a story about a little girl named Doris who is a Christian among a people who have no use for God. We talked about how believers must hide their Bibles and attend secret house-churches in hopes of avoiding the Chinese police. Being a Christian in China is literally a life and death situation. Our family has committed to pray for the Chinese people and the upcoming Olympics. I plan on posting more about this later on in the week.

In our study of China yesterday I came across a song that I'd like to share with you. There is a sign on a house-church in China that reads "God so loves the world." The sign also includes the words to the song "Miracle":

Thank You for giving me life.
We gather because of Your love.
How can I be redeemed without You?
I give my whole life to You.
Thank You for teaching me the truth, reminding me to deny myself daily;
to let You manage my life.
I have God's footprints on my heart.
Oh God, I want to follow You and open my whole heart to You.
No one and nothing can compare to You.
Help me to walk with more strength.
Oh Lord, I want to serve You by using my changed life.

May we be a people seeking to serve God with our whole hearts no matter what it might cost us.


Psalm Friday

Sleep in Peace
Psalm Friday
Psalm 17

* Pray. Ask God to give you an open heart and mind to learn new truths from His Word. Read Psalm 17 through three times. Record any thoughts or questions you have in your journal. If a verse stands out to you, write it on an index card and begin committing it to memory.

Psalm 17 is a prayer of protection that David prayed to the Lord. David is petitioning God for protection from his enemies. Have you noticed how often David is seeking after God for protection and shelter from his enemies? Why? Why does this seem to be a reoccurring theme of David’s writings? David was a man after God’s own heart, seeking to honor God in all that he did. He didn’t fit into the “norm” of society. He was different; a Jesus freak of his day. People didn’t think too highly of him because of that and they wanted to render him ineffective for the heavenly Kingdom and also for his earthly kingdom. There were precious few in his day who desired to see his earthly kingdom flourish.

There are many different directions we could go with this Psalm and many different nuggets of truth we could pull from it, but yesterday the Lord gave me a very specific nugget of truth that I want to share with you today. Between 9:00 am and 10:00 am is naptime at our house for my ten month old daughter. When I laid her down yesterday she was having no part of taking her nap. Even though she was exhausted, you could see it in her eyes, she was bound and determined she was not going to sleep. She screamed and she cried. And she screamed and she cried. And she screamed and she cried. And on and on it went for 10 minutes. 15 minutes. 20 minutes. I remembered what a professor told me in college in a child psychology class I was taking, “No child has ever died from crying because they didn’t want to take a nap. Let your child cry. It’s good for the lungs.” “Ok. So, I know she’s not hungry, she just had a bottle; she has her Molly doll, her blankie, and her paci; she’s not dirty or wet, so in an effort to help her lungs become strong (WHATEVER!) I’ll let her continue to cry,” I told myself.

As I stood in the kitchen trying to drink a cup of coffee and tune out the crying, God began speaking to my heart. “When you cry out to Me, precious child, I hear you. I don’t turn My back to you. I come to your rescue.” David was crying out to God in this Psalm for protection because he knew that God was going to hear him. David knew that his God was going to stretch out His hand and take hold of him. He knew that God was going to protect him and comfort him. David needed to be loved on by his God; he needed to feel the powerful arms of God Almighty wrapped around his tired, feeble body.

“6) I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down (literally means to out stretch or stretch forth) and listen as I pray. 7) Show me Your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By Your mighty power You rescuethose who seek refuge from their enemies. 8) Guard me as You would guard Your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 17:6-8

Well for Pete’s sake, after that little moment with the Lord, forget child psychology, there was no way I was going to continue to let my little one cry out for me. She needed some lovin’ from her moma. When I opened the door, she reached for me and said “moma, moma” tears streaming down her face. “Moma’s here, baby. It’s ok.” I picked her up and cradled her in my arms with her Molly, blankie, and paci, of course, and softly sang to her, “Hide me now under Your wings. Cover me within Your mighty hands…. Father You are king over the flood… be still and now that He is God… find rest my soul in Christ alone…

Within just a few moments she was sound asleep. Beloved, we can find rest in Christ. His power is beyond anything we can begin to imagine. There’s nothing He can’t handle. David knew that. He knew that in God was peace and rest. God used my little one to show me that in His arms and under the protection of His mighty power I am safe. As the battles rage around me and the enemy stands against me, I can sleep soundly knowing that when I wake I will see His face.

Oh, precious Father. Thank You that You always hear me when I cry out to You. Hold me today and my sweet sisters in Your arms. May we sleep soundly knowing that You are in control of all things.


It's Time to Dance

"1) HANNAH PRAYED, and said, My heart exults and triumphs in the Lord; my horn (my strength) is lifted up in the Lord. My mouth is no longer silent, for it is opened wide over my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation. 2) There is none holy like the Lord, there is none besides You; there is no Rock like our God. 3) Talk no more so very proudly; let not arrogance go forth from your mouth, for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed. 4) The bows of the mighty are broken, and those who stumbled are girded with strength. 5) Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children languishes and is forlorn. 6) The Lord slays and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. 7) The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and He lifts up. 8) He raises up the poor out of the dust and lifts up the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with nobles and inherit the throne of glory. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and He has set the world upon them. 9) He will guard the feet of His godly ones, but the wicked shall be silenced and perish in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. 10) The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them will He thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge [all peoples] to the ends of the earth; and He will give strength to His king (King) and exalt the power of His anointed (Anointed His Christ)." 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Amplified Bible

It's been a little while since we visited Hannah in 1 Samuel. Today, I'd like us to sit down with her and rejoice with her over her answered prayer. If you'd like to read any of our other encounters with Hannah and 1 Samuel you can go here, here, here, and here.

When we first saw Hannah her heart was full of bitterness and she was spilling forth her soul in anguish before the Lord. We see her now as a woman whose heart is overjoyed as she spills forth, not bitterness, but praise to her God. I had to look up the exact meaning of the word "rejoices"- something told me there was a little more to it than just a simple joy or gladness of heart. God did not disappoint. Here's what it means in the original Hebrew language- to jump for joy. Do you see that? To JUMP for joy! Hannah's heart had been so heavy that she was only able to prostrate herself before the Lord. Her bitterness and sorrow had weighed down not only her heart, but her physical body as well leaving her vulnerable and weak before the enemy.
Ah, but now! But now, her God had heard her heart's cry and she could not help but rise to the occasion and praise the One from whose stregth had lifted her above the enemy. I believe she was literally (as the definition says) jumping for joy. She was doing a "praise dance" before her Father and I bet He was dancing right along with her. There was absolutely no and I mean NO god like Hannah's God.

Her faith and trust in God resulted in some supernatural, holy power. No longer was she vulnerable and weak in the face of her enemy- she was standing tall on the Rock, hands lifted in honor of her King, mouth wide open singing praises to the Creator of the universe. God had loosed the grip her ememies had on her and gave her a new song to sing and the strength to sing it. God made her alive again, bringing her up from a grave of despair. She was no longer poor in spirit, but rich with blessings from on high.

When was the last time you danced for joy in the presence of the Lord? He is waiting with out-stretched arm to twirl you around the dance floor. Put on your dancin' shoes, let your hair down, and dance with your Daddy.



A few days ago my friend Cheri over at Pass the salt, please! posted an article on prayer. You can read her article here. This article spoke volumes to me- prayer changes things. Prayer doesn't change God's mind, it gets our hearts in tune with His and prepares us for what is about to happen.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
Matthew 6:33

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8

When we pray, we are to pray according to the will of God. We are to, first, seek the things of God. We are to set our minds on Him, seek after His righteousness then all else will fall into place. I've found that when I pray according God's will, I can rejoice no matter what the outcome may be because I know that it was all about God and not a selfish request of my own.

After reading Cheri's article, I had a lightbulb moment. One of the verses that she mentioned was 1 Timothy 2:8, "I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing." Since, my kids tend to be on the "disputing side of things" I thought it would be a great idea to make a family prayer jar. This prayer jar will serve many purposes for our family.

1. It's hard to stay angry with someone when you are praying God's best for them.
2. This will be a time for our family to sit together, share our hearts and get to know one another better.
3. It will be an opportunity for us to see and record God working in each of our lives.
4. It's an opportunity for us to encourage one another.

Today, my kids and I made our prayer jar. We talked about what prayer is and why it is important for us to pray.
All our materials.
My son and I talked about Abraham and his trust in God.
My oldest looked up several scriptures about prayer- 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; Isaiah 55:6; Psalm 95:6; 2 Chronicles 7:14- she wrote them down and then we talked about what these verses mean.
In our jar we included three different kinds of cards: "I love _______ because", "I am thankful for..."
and a card with everyone's name on it. These cards will be put in the jar. At dinner everyone will get a name of someone to pray for, an "I love________ because" card, and an "I am thankful for card." We'll then take turns going around the table completing our cards.
I've placed the jar where everyone has access to it. Beside the jar are blank cards that will be used for prayer requests or praises. Anytime during the day, we can get a card, write our name and the date on it, our prayer request or praise, and put it in the jar.
Making our jar pretty. I just used an old formula can. We covered it with paper and put 2 Chronicles 7:14 on the front.
On the lid of the can we labeled it "Prayer Jar".
Putting in the cards.
Ta-da! Our family prayer jar.

Praying Scripture back to God is very powerful. It helps us overcome many things, tunes our hearts into the heart of God, and replaces our thinking with the righteous thoughts of Christ. If you'd like to have some verses to pray for your husband, children, or teens- go here and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Two Awesome Upcoming Women's Conferences

***This post will remain here for several days- please scroll down to read new posts. Thanks. Blessings! :)

VIBRANT 2008 Women's Conference

Saturday, April 19, 2008
Faith Baptist Chruch
249 Holden Road
Youngsville, NC 27596
8:30 AM - 2 PM
Host: Christy Davis
Guest Speaker: Amie Sexton
Cost: $20 (includes lunch)
Deadline to sign up is April 12th!

In today's society we are bombarded with information that comes fast and furious through sound bites and talk shows. It is no wonder that millions of American women think Oprah is their best friend. But where should we turn for answers?

VIBRANT is a day designed to inform and encourage you from a Biblical worldview. We will be addressing topics such as:
• Encouraging your husband
• How much is too much for your children?
• Gracious hospitality
• Organizing your home
• Health and exercise
• When life throws you a curve
• Being a Titus woman

Invite a friend or a co-worker to enjoy a few hours with your host Christy Davis that is sure to include a few unexpected surprises as we grow VIBRANT in Christ.

For more information or to register go here.


Rock Your Role
Awakening the woman God created you to be
Ephesians 2:10

May 2 & 3, 2008
Wakefield Baptist Church
13029 Falls of Neuse Road
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587
Featured Speaker: Ruth McWhite
Worship Leaders: Josh & Tasha Via

*In today's society there are sertain underlying pressures facing women, each demanding we agree with their definition of womanhood and subscribe to their brand of femininity. SO what exactly does it mean to Rock You Role? It's simply letting God, our Rock, define us as women, not society.
*Under the guidance of our features speaker, Ruth McWhite, we will examine God's Word to discover what He desires for us as women and how to apply what we learn, regardless of what role we may find ourselves in, or what age we are.
*Friday, May 2nd- 7:00 pm- 9:30 pm
Worship, teaching, and fellowship
*Saturday, May 3- 8:00 am- 4:00 pm
Breakfast and lunch, worship, teaching, and breakout sessions lead by Godly women from area churches- Providence Baptist, Holy Trinity Anglican, Wakefield Baptist, Bayleaf Baptist, Faith Baptist, Richland Creek Community, and North Wake.
*I will be leading a breakout session (each session will be taught twice during the day) entitled "To know Him More". God has given women the ability and privilege to wear many different hats; singleness, career, wife, mom, teacher, nurse, taxi cab driver, seamstress, counselor, and chef, just to name a few. But, in order to honor God in all that we do , we must know His will for our lives. Spending time with God daily in His Word and through conversation is the only way we are going to know Him more and know His plan and purpose for our lives. Join me as we learn practical ways to spend some good quality time with God.
*Other breakout topics include "Who, Me?!", "Free to Live", "Show Me the Money-Gaining Control of Your Finances God's Way", "Balancing Busy-ness: Finding Peace in the Midst of Chaos", "Don't Miss the 'Role' Call", "It's All about the Shoes! What pair are You Styling?", and "When People are Too BIG: Understanding the Fear of Man".
Registration Fee- $20.00 (includes meals)
Scholarships Available
Deadline to register is April 21st
Enroll via email to Jenny Jones at
or by phone 919-570-5777