Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Who Am I? {Victorious} In Christ {Day 31} #31Days


"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, 
for those who are called according to his purpose. 
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, 
in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 
And those whom he predestined he also called, 
and those whom he called he also justified, 
and those whom he justified he also glorified." 
(Romans 8:28-30)


 






Home.

There is nothing like coming home.

Before we find our way home we run through an old covered kissing bridge, attempt to shoot a family photo on the timer setting, and finally fill our tummies at the old Cracker Barrel in Amish country.

And he's licking the last of the sweet syrup off his plate (I know, I should be horrified that he's licking his plate! and in public!!), but I'm stopped short at what he says as he puts his plate back down where it belongs. All day, he's been counting down the hours to his birthday (who am I kidding? he's been counting for months). 

He turns 8 on the 31st of October. He's been trying to convince us that he'll be king soon, just like the boy he was named after in the Bible became king when he was 8 years old.

He tells us that he knows that there are great battles and on the day that he celebrates his birthday, he knows that there are some who celebrate evil. But he says he will put on the full armour of God because God always wins his battles. And he doesn't need to be afraid of the evil because the Lord is with him.

I really can't stand that he was born on the 31st of October. I cringe at the thought of it every year. It was the only day during the whole pregnancy that I really hoped would not be the day of his birth. But when I woke up just after midnight on the 31st, two full weeks before his due date, I knew that he would be born on the very day I was hoping I could avoid. 

On the eve of his eighth birthday, we drive 9 hours, 750 km(460 miles) home. Through and around villages, up and down peaks and valleys in the Appalachian Mountains, through the States and further up and further in a few hours north into Canada.

We pack in like sardines among the suitcases, pillows, parcels, perplexus balls and other activities for the journey. We listen to 'Charlie's Choice', skip through 'Secret Garden', watching only the parts that don't scare the three year old, endure battles of she's too close--he's bugging me--and she smiled at me, make a couple quick pit stops and try to make all cozy as the dark settles and the wheels roll on and the minutes fade and we gain ground on our way home.

We cross the border just before midnight and when we roll into the driveway a couple of hours later we say a quiet Happy Birthday to the birthday boy. Then we all fall into our beds that we had crawled out of four days earlier in the wee hours of the morning to take a small holiday to see 'Noah' at the Sight and Sound Theatre, where the 'Bible comes to life'.

My heart broke afresh when we saw the ark door slam shut and heard the wails of those who were outside of the ark. Only Noah and his wife and three sons and their wives were saved on the ark when God sent a flood to destroy all living things on the earth because the wickedness of man was so great that God was grieved in His heart that he ever made man.

My heart burst with gratitude for the grace shown to those inside the ark.

My heart pondered how those inside of Christ have been redeemed at the foot of the cross and we stand sure in the ark of Christ. Where evil does not triumph and the purpose of Satan to steal, kill, and destroy cannot harm us for Christ's purpose was to give life in all its fulness.

And the journey home, may be long and tedious and even dark at times, but in Christ we stand victorious. 

Christ adorns us with His righteousness and we put on the full armour of God and fight battles in this life, endure pain and suffering, enter His presence with thanksgiving, till one day He will take us home to be with him for all eternity and be glorified in Him.

We don't know the hour when we will be called home to glory, but we do know that this is the day that the Lord has made and what He has promised is true. Each and every day, from the rising of the sun to the setting of the same, the name of the Lord will be praised.

The battle belongs to the Lord. Until we become fully like Christ, we will walk this narrow road, letting the light of Christ shine in this darkness, claiming who we are in Christ, all to the praise of His glory.

So my boy-king, will put on the his armour--his belt of truth, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit, shield of faith, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, breastplate of righteousness--and rub shoulders with his neighbours in our community on the night of his birthday and boldly claim that he is a soldier of the King of Kings.

And although I wish we could ignore this day altogether, where some elevate darkness and worship death, we will proclaim and celebrate life, rejoice that God's sovereignty reigns and His providence prevails and the whole earth and all that is in it belongs to Him, and marvel that by His grace we are safe in the ark of Jesus Christ.

As we journey, "we must trust in His love, rely on His grace, we must learn how to rest in His loving embrace"* and long for the day when He will take us to be with Him and we will behold His face and know that we are forever home.

"Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; 
but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, 
because we shall see him as he is."
(1 John 3:2)

*lyrics from song in 'Noah'
***


This is Day 31 and concludes the series: 31 Days: Who am I? {In Christ} Who is the I AM. 

You will find the complete series here


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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Who Am I? In Christ ~Word-Art Printable~ {Day 30} #31Days

"For all the promises of God find their Yes in him
That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory
And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ . . ."
(2 Corinthians 1:20-22, ESV)


To print word-art, click here.

One more day to complete #31Days for 2013: Who Am I? {In Christ} Who is the I AM.

Before we wrap up this series, I'm recapping with some word-art, including the aspects of which we barely began to scratch the surface and so many more that we could have dug into a wee bit, but the month ran out of days.

What a glorious position to be in: In Christ. May we utter our Amen to God for His glory.

***


This is Day 30 for the series: 31 Days: Who am I? {In Christ} Who is the I AM. 

You will find the complete series here


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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Who Am I? {Servant} In Christ {Day 29} #31Days


" . . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, 
and to give his life as a ransom for many." 
(Matthew 20:28)



"You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had . . . " 
(Phil 2:5)


" . . . but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, 
being born in the likeness of men. 
And being found in human form, 
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, 
even death on a cross.
 (Phil 2:7, 8)

In this me-generation, with far too many seeking approval of men, demanding to be served, climbing ladders of success and fame, submersed in social media, with much focus on followers, likes on Facebook, tweets, Tumbler, selfies, and tribes, how on earth do we have this same attitude as Christ Jesus?

In our insecurities we feel we have to make something of ourselves.

In our pride we think we deserve everything.

But Christ, made himself nothing, took the form a servant.

He girded himself with grace, clothed himself with compassion, with love was born in the likeness of men.

Lowered himself and with humility, hung naked on a cross, with no regard for his reputation.

Demonstrated his love while we were undeserving and still sinners.


In Christ, this is to be our attitude. 

To follow him, not to be concerned with followers.

To love, not to care about likes.

To lower ourselves, not proudly elevate our position.

To extend grace, not consumed with what we get.

To proclaim the gospel of grace and mercy, not just please with flattering words.

To serve, not to perform.

To wash the feet of others. The stinky, dirty, calloused, warty feet of those who cross our path.

To give our lives for them.

To the praise of His glory.

It's not the comfortable place to be.

But it's where we trade our insecurities for In Christ-security.

May He grant us the power do make ourselves nothing and we will see that He has already given us everything.


For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? 
Or am I trying to please man? 
If I were still trying to please man, 
I would not be a servant of Christ.
(Galatians 1:10)


***


This is Day 29 for the series: 31 Days: Who am I? {In Christ} Who is the I AM. 
You will find the complete series here


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Monday, October 28, 2013

Who Am I? {Sealed} In Christ {Day 28} #31 Days


"In him you also, when you heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation,
and believed in him,
were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,
to the praise of his glory."
(Ephesians 1:13-14)



In Christ.
Sealed.
Stamped.
Secure.
Guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.
For all eternity.
To the Glory of God.

***


This is Day 28 for the series: 31 Days: Who am I? {In Christ} Who is the I AM. 
You will find the complete series here

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Who Am I? {Heard} In Christ {Day 26} #31Days ~ Words of Wisdom for the Weekend


"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened 
with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, 
being rooted and grounded in love, 
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints 
what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, 
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, 
according to the power at work within us, 
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, 
forever and ever. Amen. 
(Ephesians 3:14-21, ESV)



"For  those who are in Christ, he serves as a mediator, bringing our prayers to God. And since God the Holy Spirit dwells in those who are in Christ, our prayers are by the Spirit, through the Son, to the Father. He hears your spoken words, unspoken thoughts, and unclear longings. This one fact is utterly astonishing. God's heart is always inclined towards you, his face set towards you, and his ear open for you. This explains why the Bible invites us to 'pray without ceasing' about anything, anytime, anywhere.  
 The Christian life can become very overly complicated, and we can overlook the majesty of simplicity. As a reminder that God is our friend, to whom we should talk to regularly, not because we have to but because we get to, the Bible includes prayers. One example is Paul's prayer is Ephesians 3:14-21, of which one theologian has said, 'No prayer that has ever been framed has uttered a bolder request.'  
Imagine sitting with Paul in his jail cell. Picture him rubbing his aching joints and scarred body as he gets down on his knees in a wet, cold filthy hole in the ground, and raises his voice in prayer. To listen in on Paul's prayer life as he speaks from his heart amid great suffering and prays for Christians, including you, to understand the depths of God's love and be filled the fullness of God, reveals to us who he truly was.
~ Mark Driscoll, "Who Do You Think You Are? [emphasis added]

***


This is Day 26 for the series: 31 Days: Who am I? {In Christ} Who is the I AM. 
You will find the complete series as it updated here



I invite you to follow on  Facebook and Twitter.



Enter your email address to subscribe to A Soft Gentle Voice and have this series delivered to your inbox.   
***
{Words for Wisdom for the Weekend: These are words that I have been challenged or encouraged by that I have read throughout my week that I kept pondering; words that I couldn't get off my mind and heart throughout my week. 
For other Words of Wisdom for the Weekend posts see here.}

Friday, October 25, 2013

Who Am I? {Together} In Christ {Day 25} #31Days


"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, 
glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth . . . 
And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."
(John 1:14, 16)



This world can be a lonely place.

Ideals and illusions of perfection drive us further apart.

Fears force wedges between us.

Masks conceal and get in the way of true community.

Not willing to be vulnerable, we neglect the fact that we need each other.

*


I gather with women and am grateful to share my story and who we are in Christ.

I am given strength to be vulnerable as prayers are presented at the throne of a gracious God.

Wet eyes around the room tell me I am not alone. As we tear down our fences, Christ in His love will build us up together.

In Christ, we are being built together.

Christ came in sinful flesh. Light shone in the darkness, that sinners could, by the Spirit, become children of God and shine as lights in the world.

We have been called Saints that have been set apart for God ~ together with God.

Dwelling in His very presence and His very presence dwelling in us.

We have seen the glory of the only Son, the One who became flesh and dwelt among us that we might together be a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Christ Jesus being our foundation and support. The One who holds all things together.

In Christ, we all, the beautiful body of Christ, His Bride, His Church, receive, grace upon grace.

Together, we lay ourselves down, to be built up together in Him.


So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, 
but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, 
Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstonein whom the whole structure, 
being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 
In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. 
(Ephesians 2:19-22)




Email subscribers can listen to this song, 'In Christ', by following the link here.
***



This is Day 25 for the series: 31 Days: Who am I? {In Christ} Who is the I AM. 
You will find the complete series as it updated here


I invite you to follow on  Facebook and Twitter.




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***
Also linking with Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo's place. This week the prompt is: Together

Officially, the rules are:

Five Minute Friday1. Write for 5 minutes  {Full disclosure: I spent more time on this post}
2. Link up at Lisa-Jo's  and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Who Am I? {Perfect} In Christ {Day 24} #31Days


And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
"What this verse promises is this: if God called you to his glory, he's going to get you to his glory. A little suffering in between is not going to stop him.  
"The meaning of being a Christian is that we have been effectually called to eternal glory . . . This is Peter's way of saying what Paul said in Romans 8:30: 'Who God calls he also justifies, and who he justifies he also glorifies.' Peter simply says, The One who called you to his glory will get you to his glory: he will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. It's a promise. You can take it for yourself if you will have it and believe it and bank on it in . . . 
"And I urge you to take it. When Peter says that 'the God of all grace' makes this promise, he wants to help you believe that it's for you. You may say, It can't be for me. I'm not qualified. I'm not spiritual. Peter says, you don't start with being qualified. You start with the God of all grace. Grace precedes qualification. You may have this promise freely, if you will believe in this God of all grace."
~ John Piper  [emphasis added]


***



This is Day 24 for the series: 31 Days: Who am I? {In Christ} Who is the I AM. 
You will find the complete series as it updated here


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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Who Am I? {Adopted} In Christ {Day 23} #31Days


But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. 
God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, 
so that he could adopt us as his very own children. 
And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, 
prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”
(Galatians 4:4-6)

There is a little girl in China being prayed for everyday in Canada.

She is now living with hundreds of other children who are without father or mother, without hope, rejected as outcasts. But there is one girl who is being chosen to be brought into the loving arms of a Daddy and Mama who are longing to meet the one they have been pursuing.

The process has been long, costly, and legal.

There has been much red-tape and even more real trust.

This Mama waiting to bring her child home, tells me she has been challenge to trust and wait in faith for this one she loves in her heart already. They have given her a name so they can pray specifically, but they don't know yet what she looks like, or when she will come home to their loving embrace.

When she does come home to them she will need medical care right away. They are extending open arms to one who has been cast aside and is without any hope, but they not only give her a new name, a new identity, but a new hope, and healing beyond what she ever could have dreamed.

She will come home with special needs and they will do everything within their love and power to provide for her beyond the basic necessities of life.

The process of adoption takes faith, perseverance, desire, time, love, grace and resources.

It is costly and must be legal.



Not unlike the adoption we have received by God.

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family 
by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. 
This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
(Ephesians 1:5)

He has personally adopted us as 'children of God'. We have positionally become heirs of God.

It was costly. The payment required was the blood of His own Son.

It had to be legal. Justification secured our legal relationship with God and He declared us righteous in Christ.

He desired it. Through adoption He called the ones He longs for His children.

We came with needs. We were without hope and rejected.

God, according to His riches, has given us a new name, a new identity, a new hope and healed us beyond what we ever could have imagined.

Adoption in ancient Rome took place to secure the desired heir. The inheritance would be passed down to the heir and a grown man would be chosen to be adopted to become the rightful heir and continue the family name.

"We have been adopted by God the Father, and that fact has completely changed our future."
~ Jerry Bridges, 'Who Am I? '
We have been chosen before the beginning of time, to receive an inheritance, privileges, and obligations as children of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ, to share in His sufferings as well as His glory.


One day we will be taken home and the process will be compete.


It is not an overstatement to say that in our adoption, we have been given more than we ever could have imagined.


I once was an outcast stranger on earth, 
A sinner by choice, and alien by birth,
But I've been adopted, my name's written down, 
An heir to a mansion, a robe and a crown.  
 I’m a child of the King,
A child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior,
I’m a child of the King.

'A Child of the King' by Harriet Buell 

***



This is Day 23 for the series: 31 Days: Who am I? {In Christ} Who is the I AM. 
You will find the complete series as it updated here


I invite you to follow on  Facebook and Twitter.



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