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Rock Hill, SC, United States
"My heart is overflowing with a good theme. I recite my compositions concerning the King. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer." (Psalm 45:1) This verse has become a life verse for me. As I continue to walk it out, I realize this journey as a breast cancer survivor has changed me but does not define me. I remain the loved, chosen, redeemed and blessed child of the living God who supplies me daily with more hope, strength, grace and courage than I ever dreamed I could possess! God has been so good to me ... indeed my tongue is the pen of a ready writer ... poised to tell the story of my faithful Father! I love Him so!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Psalm 32: Forgiven and Blessed!

Psalm 32 ~ It's all about the blessedness of forgiveness and trust in God. So rich, from the first word to the last! Mind if I share a little commentary? My heart is just overflowing and you know me ..... what comes up must find it's way out .....

Oh how I wish that we could sit over coffee, our Bibles open wide, and just share what God has been saying to our hearts with the conversation flowing both ways. Where are you on your journey? Are you inviting Him along? You see, I'm absolutely convinced that He is not a "one size fits all situations" kind of God. No, He's more personal than that, more intimately acquainted with each of our journey's than that. And I believe that as we press in, He leads and guides us to the very strength building passages of scripture that apply at the very moments of our lives in which we need them. So don't leave Him behind.

And then other times, we may not feel a specific need but as we continue to press in, He just thrills us with the truth of His Word by reminding us of His greatness to ALL mankind. His mercy to ALL mankind. His sovereignty over ALL mankind. But, don't get lost in the crowd and don't leave Him behind here either because even in the all inclusive sense He's still completely personal.

Back to Psalm 32 ~ It was simply the next Psalm to read as I've been reading them in order over the last few days. Well, kind of in order but not from the beginning ~ I started in Psalm 28 and have been going forward ever since ~ So today, when I read Psalm 32 my spirit sang out just from the sheer truth of it. My fears, my apprehension of upcoming tests, doctor appts., etc just faded to the background as I took it all in. Yes, it's that time again for me. When they remind me that I am a cancer patient/survivor and some things (like procedures and tests) are necessary! Argh! But have I mentioned how good our God is? And that's why it touched me so, I guess, because it broadened my view a bit from the medical appts swirling around me and reminded me that there is more to living than just that with all it's worry and fear.

This Psalm starts out with David declaring forgiveness ~ being justified ~ through faith and not works. How could he in Old Testament times have known this truth about faith? Only God could reveal it to him and it was very important to David, too. He needed atonement for his sin. He needed a covering. To us, on this side of the cross, we understand that it is more than just a covering for our sins.  We know that our sins have been completely put away and cast into the sea of forgetfulness. (Paul refers to this passage in Ro. 4:7, 8  to show that justification was by faith apart from works even in the Old Testament times ~ I love it when the OT and NT intertwine). It's faith, It's believing ~ that reckons us as righteousness! It's all He has done and nothing we can do!

David needed to know this truth and God showed it to him.

And in the nick of time too because verse 3 and 4 describe how ignoring sin and pretending things are a-okay will "eat you alive". We were not made to carry such a burden that sin creates. It weighs us down. I think that's why David said "how blessed ..." He was feeling a bit of relief but when he started the chapter he hadn't specifically revealed how he got that relief. It would come ...

In verse 5, he shares what he had to do to find it. He confessed. That's it? Yes, it is. Seems all God was waiting on was for him to say ..."I have sinned" ... Then the whole shameful story of his sin opened up like a festering wound that could now be cleansed ~ from the inside out. I bet he felt the entire weight lift in that instance. I've been there too. Different sins ~ same Savior! (1 John 4:9)

Verse 6, he tells us ~ and I'm paraphrasing here ~ that those who belong to the Father should pray & seek Him while He may be found because then when the floods of life come they won't overtake you. Oh yeah! I know how that feels. When the fears assail and the concerns grow large I just keep clinging to my Rock and He holds me firm. He brings to mind all that He has told me. Gotta be prepared for those times cause they sometimes come without warning and the only way to be prepared is to be in His Word.

Verse 7, David declares that He is our hiding place, our refuge, then One who fills us with song.

Verse 8, Now in this verse we wonder if it's God answering David? Some commentaries say it is. I think it would be just like God to suddenly interject into the conversation and declare that He will instruct us. He is, after all, the God of all comfort and it's pretty comforting to me to know that He's going to instruct me and guide me. Recently, I was memorizing John 14:26 and it spoke of this very thing...

  • Here it is from the NET Bible: "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you."  Love that! He is with me always ~ leading, guiding, reminding me and teaching me!

Verse 9, Did you read it yet? It's a bit of a strong recommendation. Again, who's speaking here David or the Lord, Himself? No matter. It's advice I will heed. I can identify and I get it ~ I'm a bit spoiled, stubborn, bull headed and I like to be in control. I know, I know, some of you are surprised, right? LOL! Back to the point of verse 9 ~ Don't do it! Don't be that way! It won't end well!

Verse 10, Trusting in Him provides a surrounding of lovingkindness (mercy, faithfulness, steadfastness, goodness) and, by the way, this word used here for lovingkindness is also found in Psalm 136. In that chapter it is used 26 times to proclaim that God's kindness and love are eternal. Whoo! Now that's a promise that I can cling to!

Verse 11, Be glad, Rejoice, Shout for joy! That's the encouraged posture! Much easier to do when our hearts are light (forgiven) and our minds are focused (not stubborn) and our lives are blessed (happy, blissful) as a result!

Go with God today ~ you can be abundantly blessed and completely forgiven! All you have to do is ask Him!

Cindy K

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A heart that leaps and sings? Yes, please!

Sometimes, all it takes is seeing something simple to inspire us and get the wheels of our minds fully engaged. Today, that  simple something was from my journal. Just across on the opposite page, to be exact, from where I had put pen to paper. It was a verse ... Psalm 28:7 ...  and it said (from the NIV) ... "my heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song" ...

A heart that leaps? Giving thanks in song? Yes, please, I'll take lots of that!

And how appropriate, too! You see, I am sitting on the balcony of my room here at Jekyll Island, Ga. It is the last day of a wonderful relaxing weekend where I've had my toes in the sand and a gentle breeze on my face. Just the perfect late summer, quick getaway. And, indeed, my heart does leap for joy and I do find myself giving thanks to Him in song and humming ~ incessantly ~ of course, for those who really know me that's not a surprise, I'm always humming! Always want my heart to "leap" with "song"! Don't you? After all, He gives us so much to "hum" and "sing" about ~ you just gotta let it out!

Anyway, reading this little snippet from Psalm 28 just peaked my interest and before I knew it I was reading the entire Psalm. I wanted to see what it was all about. Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? How could it speak to me right now, today, thousands of years after it was written by the pen of David.

My Bible titles this Psalm: "A prayer for help, and praise for it's answer". Now that's confidence. I'm sitting here with my prayer list in hand. A prayer list that has some very urgent needs on it. A prayer list that reflects the desperate places we find ourselves in. Actually, though, we are all desperate for Him ... daily! And this Psalm is reflecting prayer and praise all wrapped up before we even say Amen! I like that notion. I like that confidence!

So, here's Psalm 28 .... (and just a few of my thoughts and practical application while I read)

1 To you I call, O LORD my Rock;
   do not turn a deaf ear to me.

(We call to You, our God, our Rock ~ there is no other that can help us)

For if you remain silent,
   I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.

(If You don't help us we won't be helped!)

  2 Hear my cry for mercy
   as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
   toward your Most Holy Place.

(We are desperate for Your touch; we are desperate for Your mercy!)

3 Do not drag me away with the wicked,
   with those who do evil
 who speak cordially with their neighbors
   but harbor malice in their hearts.
4 Repay them for their deeds
   and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
   and bring back upon them what they deserve.
5 Since they show no regard for the works of the LORD
   and what his hands have done,

(Don't ever want to miss seeing all that You have done! You are magnificent!)

he will tear them down
   and never build them up again.

(These are the consequences of not looking to You, O God, and giving You ALL glory. It is all about You! Don't let me be counted among them ~ keep me pure; guard my heart!)

 6 Praise be to the LORD,
   for he has heard my cry for mercy.
(You Are Faithful to me ~ always and in all ways!)

7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
   my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
   and I will give thanks to him in song.
(You are my Strength! You are my Shield! You are my Trust! You are my Help! You are my Praise! You are my Song; my Hum! You are my object of thanksgiving!)

8 The LORD is the strength of his people,
   a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
9 Save your people and bless your inheritance;
   be their shepherd and carry them forever.

(The intercessory prayer of a king to his King for his people! Don't neglect intercessory prayer ~ it's a privilege! Be all these things to us, O God!)

Well, just a glimpse into my morning quiet time. Thanks for letting me share. You're on my heart and in my prayers ...

I pray that your heart is leaping and your voice (your heart) is singing. 

I pray that you are in the Word,  with hands lifted to His Most Holy Place, 
seeking the only Source of our help. 

I pray that your prayer list doesn't overwhelm but rather keeps you face-down 
with full assurance that He hears your cry. 

I pray that He is your everything for, truly, we are all desperate for Him.

And I pray that He is your Shepherd. May He carry you forever!

Caught In His embrace,

Cindy K

Friday, August 5, 2011

Favor or Favoritism

I recently bought a new Bible. I must admit it was hard to let go of my old one, the one given to me by my guys in 2001, each of them signing on the "Presented By" page. At the time they were 12, 10, & 4 years old. Never again will they sign their names quite like those young hands did that day. Needless to say, their handwritten signatures are very precious to me in the front cover of that Bible.

This Bible is the one I've held tightly to for the past 10 years. The one that is all marked up in the margins. The one that has brought me unspeakable comfort and strength in the midst of life; and, as I transition to my unmarked, new Bible I have to wonder what great journey God and I will walk as He leads me through the truths upon it's pages.

Already, I'm finding myself captured anew by His great love and mercy for us. His Truth is just leaping from the pages and setting my heart aflame with fresh love for Him and fresh insight from Him.  He absolutely stuns me with His greatness! What a mighty God we serve! What a tender, compassionate Father we adore! There is no one like Him. And, His Word ~ so alive and active in us!

So, for the past couple of mornings I have been reading in James. I began in James 5 because of a verse printed on the bottom of my journal page that caught my eye. After looking that verse up I decided to read the entire chapter and then the entire book of James. Today I read chapter 2 ... it begins like this ....

My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious 
Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.  
James 2:1 (nasb)

Now, I realize that this verse was written to believers. I know this because it is addressed to the "brethren". And I know that James is talking about favoritism being shown one to another. A horizontal kind of favoritism. You know, showing partiality by judging a person based on where they live, or what they drive, or how much money they do or do not make. Society says to love the beautiful and despise the unattractive; to listen to the successful and disregard the less fortunate. It's a very sad reality in life. But, nope. Don't do it. Don't judge the book by it's cover. Resist that urge!

I think the heart of the matter is really the matter of the heart. I started to think about what it  really looks like in us and what the far reaching implications really are of "holding our faith ... with an attitude of personal favoritism" if we do so in view of what God has done for us. You know, like thinking we somehow deserved, above others, the grace and mercy, the salvation and deliverance of our great God.

You see, this verse is talking about the way we treat others based on how much we think they deserve His grace, by measuring their worth ... that's where the judgment comes in. Seems like we may have forgotten the grace we ourselves have received and when we forget that then we are in danger of treating others based on how much we think we deserve His grace. Ah! Now there's a sobering thought and it's not rocket science. It's just another way of looking at what James is saying. I'm talking about a heart check here, I'm talking about humility here because there's a lot of puffed up Christians who think they have the corner market on God's favoritism.

But, God doesn't show partiality. He does not have favorites and He won't take a bribe. Thinking He does, and even more, thinking that I am (or you are) one of his personal favorites will only lead to arrogance. Likewise, thinking I'm not special enough to be loved by Him will lead me to despair when the hard times come.

It's true He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. But that's blessing, not favoritism. We are the head and not the tail. But that's identity & position, not favoritism. He has rescued us from darkness and brought us into His marvelous light. But that's deliverance and salvation, not favoritism. He is our righteousness. But that's mercy and grace, not favoritism.

These things I've mentioned are just a few examples of Favor, Divine Favor, born in the heart of a Father that loves each and every one of us with such a lavish and personal love. Every good and perfect gift comes from above, coming down from the Father ...

The word Favor, in the Old Testament, comes from the Hebrew word "chen" ~ in the New Testament, it comes from the Greek word charis. Both words mean "unmerited favor or regard in God's sight;  graciousness, grace, acceptance, precious, to show pity"

Favor compels us to fall to our knees & bless Almighty God for His gracious love. 
Favor compels  us to rise from our beds in the morning with thankful hearts. 
Favor walks with us through the uncertainties of life ... for He is with us. 
Favor springs fresh hope into our weary souls ... for He is our hope. 

Favor is not defined by everything going right in our lives nor is it diminished just because I'm in a battle. Favor is that which humbly says, "I am His. He has chosen me. I am precious in His sight. He loves me like none other can." 

Knowing these simple truths will cause us to bow the knee to One so great! To cling to His unmerited favor in our lives which is way better than depending on favoritism anyway! And in so doing I feel quite sure we will end up looking at those around us with fresh eyes, humble eyes and a fresh compassion that causes us to invite them into this wonderful relationship with the heavenly Father. A relationship full of favor, not favoritism.

Now, fellow "grasshoppers", go about your day and frolick in the beautiful favor of the One "who sits above the circle of the earth" (Isaiah 40:22) and bring someone along with you! I promise they are worth it! The Father loves me, you and them! 

Until the whole world knows, 
Cindy K