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Archive for the ‘encouraging verse’ Category

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I will not forget you!
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See I have engraved you
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On the palms of my hands …
 
Isaiah 49:15-16
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“You are precious and honored in my sight.
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I love you. For I am the Lord, your God, who
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takes hold of your right hand and says to
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you, Do not fear, I will help you.  I will
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strengthen you.  I have called you by name
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and you are mine.  I will not forget you!  See
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I have engraved you on the palms of my
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hands.  Never will I leave you.  Never will I
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forsake you.”  — God
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Dedicated to Pastor Saeed and his wife Naghmeh

“Because he love me,” says the Lord,

“I will rescue him.” Psalm 91:14

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 I pray you may have power to grasp how
wide and long and high and deep
is the love of Christ, and to know this love.
Ephesians 3:18-19
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People often feel blessed when their lives are going well and angry with God when their lives are painful.  Our challenge is to know we are loved, even when our life circumstances are distressing.  It is important that this knowledge is not based on feelings.  The apostle Paul was greatly loved and the Lord said of him, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”  Many different times, Paul boasted about his suffering.  His suffering did not make him think God loved him less.
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Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move.  I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.  I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food;  I have been cold and naked” (2 Corinthians 11:25-28).
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If I were going through what Paul went through, I would be thinking, “God has abandoned me,” but Paul confidently assures us, “My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).  I believe that Paul knew Jesus so well and knew that he was loved so well that whatever his circumstances were, he had peace.   
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From Jesus
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“I thirst for you. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe my love you: I thirst for you. I thirst to love and be loved by you — that is how precious you are to me.  I thirst for you.  Come to me, and fill your heart and heal your wounds.” Mother Teresa 
(see complete essay below)
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“I know you through and through – I know everything about you.  The very hairs of your head I have numbered.  Nothing in your life is unimportant to me, I have followed you through the years, and I have always loved you – even in your wanderings.
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I know every one of your problems.  I know your needs and your worries.  And yes, I know all your sins. But I tell you again that I love you – not for what you have or haven’t done – I love you for you, for the beauty and dignity my Father gave you by creating you in his own image. 
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It is a dignity you have forgotten, a beauty you have tarnished by sin.  But I love you as you are, and I have shed my blood to win you back.  If you only ask me with faith, my grace will touch all that needs changing in your life; and I will give you the strength to free yourself from sin and all its destructive power.
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I know what is in your heart – I know your loneliness and all your hurts – the rejections, the judgments, the humiliations.  I carried it all before you. And I carried it all for you, so you might share my strength and victory.  I know especially your need for love – how you are thirsting to be loved and cherished.  But often have thirsted in vain, by seeking that love selfishly, striving to fill the emptiness inside you with passing pleasures – with even greater emptiness of sin.  Do you thirst for love?  “Come to me all you who thirst” (John 7:37).  I will satisfy you and fill you.  Do you thirst to be cherished?  I cherish you more than you can imagine to the point of dying on a cross for you. 
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I thirst for you.  Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe my love for you:  I thirst for you.  I thirst to love and to be loved by you – that is how precious you are to me.  I thirst for you.  Come to me, and fill your heart and heal your wounds. 
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If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all.  For me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you.  I thirst for you.  Open to me, come to me, thirst for me, give me your life – and I will prove to you how important you are to my heart.
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No matter how far you may wander, no matter how often you forget me, no matter how many crosses you may bear in this life, there is one thing I want you to remember always, one thing that will never change: I thirst for you – just as you are.  You don’t need to change to believe in my love, for it will be your belief in my love that will change you.  You forget me, and yet I am seeking you every moment of the day – standing at the door of your heart, and knocking.
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Do you find this hard to believe?  Then look at the cross, look at my heart that was pierced for you.  Have you not understood my cross?  Then listen again to the words I spoke there – for they tell you clearly why I endured all this for you: I thirst (John 19:28).  Yes, I thirst for you – as the rest of the Psalm verse which I was praying says of me: “I looked for love, and I found none” (Psalm 69:20).
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All your life I have been looking for your love – I have never stopped seeking to love and be loved by you.  You have tried many other things in your search for happiness;  why not try opening your heart to me, right now, more than you ever have before.
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Whenever you do open the door of your heart, whenever you come close enough, you will hear me say to you again and again, not in mere human words but in spirit: “No matter what you have done, I love you for your own sake.”
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Come to me with your misery and your sins, with your trouble and needs, and with all your longing to be loved.  I stand at the door of your heart and knock.  Open to me, for I thirst for you.”
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Essay by Mother Teresa, From Bread and Wine ~ Readings for Lent and Easter, The Plough Publishing House 2003
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More in 2013

 
Bring joy to your servant,
 
for to you, O Lord,
 
I lift up my soul.
 
Psalm 86:4
 
 
 
New Year’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year.  On January 1, 2006, my youngest son Sterling was the first baby born of the new year in Nashville, Tennessee.  We made the news on four television stations and were highlighted in the area newspaper.  It was a fun time, but what made it even more special was that the date of his birth was an answered prayer.  I had prayed that he would be born on the birthday of my dear friend Dianne.
 
Another reason I love New Year’s Day is that it is a time for making a fresh start.  Even as a child, I liked making New Year’s resolutions, and once I even laminated the resolutions.  (I still have the list!)  This year, I am not making resolutions; I am choosing a “focus word”.  For me, a focus word defines how I want to grow, what I want to accomplish, and what I want to be like in the upcoming year.  My word for 2013 is “more”.
 
 – I want to be more aware of God’s presence.
 – I want to be more organized.
 – I want to exercise more.
 – I want to be more patient and kind.
 – I want to have more joy and more peace ….
 
I know that I cannot have “more” by my own effort.  In John 5:30, Jesus said, “By myself I can do nothing.”  So I am praying that God will “be merciful to me and hear my prayer” (Psalm 4:2) and grant my request for “more“. 
 
I would like to invite you to choose a focus word or words for 2013.  If you would like to share what you chose, you can e-mail me at spacious4@aol.com or leave a comment.  Happy New Year! 
 

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God heals the brokenhearted

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But you, God, see the trouble of the

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afflicted; you consider their grief

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and take it in hand. The victims

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commit themselves to you …

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Psalm 10:14

 

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The Lord builds up Jerusalem (and those who are grieving)

He gathers the exiles …

He heals the brokenhearted

and binds up their wounds.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous

and His ears are attentive to their cry.

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Cry out to God Most High …

He sends from heaven and saves you, …

God sends His love and His faithfulness.

He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.

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Whoever who dwells in the shelter of the Most

High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

He will cover you with his feathers,

and under His wings you will find refuge

His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 147:2-3; Psalm 34:18,15; Psalm 57:2-3* slight change

Psalm 9:12; Psalm 91:1,4

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Dedicated to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School

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My times are in your hands.
 
Psalm 31:15
 
 
As I was filling out paperwork to have my medical records sent to a new doctor I noticed something unusual.  Under “date of birth” was the heading “date of death.”  I could have been clever and written “only God knows”, but I instead I just left it blank and moved on.  But the question made me wonder: what if I did know my “date of death”? Would I be living differently?
 
Yesterday was the “date of death” for our dear family friend Bill Frey.  Bill helped shape me into the person I am today.  His quiet generosity made it possible for me to go on mission trips to third world countries as a teenager.  These mission trips opened my eyes to a level of poverty I never knew existed.  My mom says I never complained about my clothes again after returning home.  I didn’t know at the time that it was Bill who had provided the way for me to go, but I was aware of many other ways he blessed my family.
 
My dad worked for a small church in the suburbs of Boston from the time I was ten until I was twenty.  Bill Frey and his family welcomed and cared for all of us as if we were their own family.  Because of Bill, I have wonderful memories of being in their home, swimming in their pool, and going with them on vacation to Nantucket.  They exemplified 1 Timothy 1:18-19:
 
Command them to do good, be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.  — Paul
 
Bill Frey made great investments assuring treasures in heaven, and he did take hold of the “life that is truly life.”
 
 Dedicated to Bunny and Melissa
 
 

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God’s Eyes

 
For the eyes of the Lord range
 throughout the earth to strengthen those
whose hearts are fully committed to Him.
2 Chronicles 16:9
 
 
When we are fully committed, the gaze of God finds us and strengthens us.  When we are not fully committed, we miss the extra strength that could be ours.  One way I believe this strengthening occurs is by God sending his words to us. 
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” God
Our part is making ourselves available to receive God’s words by listening and by purifying ourselves.  Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God (2 Corinthians 7:1).  May He strengthen our hearts so that we will be blameless and holy in the presence of God our Father (1 Thessalonians 3:13).
 
I love you, O Lord, my strength.
Strengthen me according to your word.
Psalm 18:1 and 119:28
 

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no more pain

 
Why is my pain unending and
my wound grievous and incurable?
Jeremiah 15:18
 
 
My heart is heavy because of the intense chronic headache pain of a new friend and the emotional pain of an old friend.  The pain of my friends, my daily pain, plus the suffering in the world often feels overwhelming.  It gives me hope to remember that “there will come a day, no more tears, no more pain, no more fears” (Jeremy Camp).  When our pain feels unending we can know that there will be an end to our pain.

This day is an actual day that will occur.  It is not some far-off dream, but a reality and one we can look forward to like we would a wedding or a birth.  For important days there are preparations and anticipation. Let’s prepare for and anticipate the day that we will be free from pain.  God will wipe every tear from our eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (based on Revelation 21:4).

“If you are hurting today, take heart. Every day you are one day closer to the other side of your pain.”  Chrystie Cole 

“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.  But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create ….”  Isaiah 65:1

To hear Jeremy Camp’s song There Will be a Day click here. 

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