Friday, June 28, 2013

A Letter from God

People have often called the Bible "God's letter to us." My question is, how often do we actually read it as such? As His personal, handwritten letter of love...

to you?

Below, I want to share a compilation of passages from God's word which spoke to my heart.

Pray. Read it. Live it. 

After all, it's not only my story.

It's yours, too.

*References are at the end.

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.

Your birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born.

And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, "Live!" Yes, I said to you in your blood, "Live!"

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son....
I taught Ephraim to walk,
Taking them by their arms;
But they did not know that I healed them.
I drew them with gentle cords,
With bands of love,
And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck.
I stooped and fed them.

When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine.

Then I washed you in water; yes, I thoroughly washed off your blood, and I anointed you with oil. I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk. I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your wrists, and a chain on your neck. And I put a jewel in your nose, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate pastry of fine flour, honey, and oil. You were exceedingly beautiful, and succeeded to royalty. Your fame went out among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through My splendor which I had bestowed on you.

I remember you,
The kindness of your youth,
The love of your betrothal,
When you went after Me in the wilderness,
In a land not sown.

But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it. You took some of your garments and adorned multicolored high places for yourself, and played the harlot on them. Such things should not happen, nor be. You have also taken your beautiful jewelry from My gold and My silver, which I had given you, and made for yourself male images and played the harlot with them. You took your embroidered garments and covered them, and you set My oil and My incense before them. Also My food which I gave you—the pastry of fine flour, oil, and honey which I fed you—you set it before them as sweet incense; and so it was.

And in all your abominations and acts of harlotry you did not remember the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, struggling in your blood.

The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron;
With the point of a diamond it is engraved
On the tablet of their heart

You have plowed wickedness;
You have reaped iniquity.
You have eaten the fruit of lies,
Because you trusted in your own way,
In the multitude of your mighty men.

Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, So have you dealt treacherously with Me...

Now then, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord! ... Because your filthiness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotry with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children which you gave to them... I will lay to rest My fury toward you, and My jealousy shall depart from you. I will be quiet, and be angry no more. Because you did not remember the days of your youth, but agitated Me with all these things, surely I will also recompense your deeds on your own head.

How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I set you like Zeboiim?
My heart churns within Me;
My sympathy is stirred.
I will not execute the fierceness of My anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man,
The Holy One in your midst;
And I will not come with terror.

Return, O backsliding children...for I am married to you.

Now, therefore...
Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.

Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
And take away the foreskins of your hearts,

Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

Come now, and let us reason together...
Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

I have formed you, you are My servant; will not be forgotten by Me!
I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions,
And like a cloud, your sins.
Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.

Can a woman forget her nursing child, 
And not have compassion on the son of her womb? 
Surely they may forget, 
Yet I will not forget you. 
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.

Those [wounds] with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you. Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed.... And I will establish My covenant with you. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, that you may remember and be ashamed, and never open your mouth anymore because of your shame, when I provide you an atonement for all you have done.

For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I gave Egypt for your ransom,
Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
Since you were precious in My sight,
You have been honored,
And I have loved you;

Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.

And it shall be, in that day...
That you will call Me "My Husband,"
And no longer call Me "My Master,"

You are all fair, my love,
And there is no spot in you.

Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.

I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me
In righteousness and justice,
In lovingkindness and mercy;
I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness,
And you shall know the Lord.

Let not your heart be troubled... In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days... I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them... For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.

Behold, I make all things new.

Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!

(Jer 1:5; Eze 16:3-6; Hos 11:1-4; Eze 16:8-14; Jer 2:2; Eze 16:15-19, 22; Jer 17:1; Hos 10:13; Jer 3:20; Eze 16:35-43; Hos 11:8-9Jer 3:14; Joel 2:12; Jer 4:4; Hos 10:12; Isa 1:18; Eze 36:25,26; Isa 44:21,22, 49:15,16; Zech 13:6; Eze 16:60-63; Isa 54:10, 43:1-4; Hos 2:14-16; Song 4:7; Jer 31:3; Hos 2:19-20; John 14:1-3,27, 13:34,35; Mat 28:18-20; Rev 3:11,12; Jer 31:33,34; Rev 21:5; Song 2:10-13)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Inn (Running in the Rain)

It's been a long time since I posted anything. So much has happened, and if I were to tell it all Blogger might malfunction or the post might go on for eternity. Well, not quite. I hope to start blogging more, and to describe life in Germany and the things we've done and the lessons God has been teaching me.

But right now I want to share something in particular. I recently felt the need to write something, anything, one night. There are those times when you just need some time for creative expression. For me, this usually becomes an offering of worship to God. 

I sat on the windowsill with pen and paper in hand, with a headlamp to illumine the night. As I poured out my heart to God, a precious nightly routine, a picture flashed in my mind's eye. Quickly, I tried to capture it in words. The picture is a story, and for me the person in the picture story was myself, and I know God used it to teach me and bless me. In reality, though, I believe it tells the story of every Christian's experience in the rainstorms of life.

Read it carefully and prayerfully. Close your eyes and see the picture. 

I believe you will find yourself in the story.

I really do.


The Inn

I'm running
Over hills of green, with clouds above
A thunder crash spurs me on
As sky touches earth with rain
The masses above, rolling, enfolding
Black like midnight ink
A flash lights my way
Fading in the misty grey

I'm soaking
Clothes plastered to my skin
I look behind and hurry on
I search, look for the place
Where shelter may be found
Beneath the leafy green
To hide, from storm unseen

I'm tired
The distance stretches on
The pounding of my weary feet
Along the path, echoing
The beating of my heart
With short, panting breath
Pausing for a rest

I'm kneeling
Who cares about the mud
Rain and mist swirl around
No song of bird, nor snap of twig
To break the stillness now
I bow my dripping head
And hear a voice, instead

I'm here
Get up, go on My child
Don't stay here in the rain
For just ahead, o'er one more hill
Awaits a little Inn
It's safe and dry
There now, don't cry

I'm walking
The rain begins to cease
And sun lights up the path
My hand in His, we reach the top
Look, I see the Inn!
He, smiling, urges me
So I run, eagerly

I'm running

Valerie Jacobson
June 12, 2013

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