9.20.2017

Wednesday Words [2]- How Many Times

{image mine}



how many times
has He wiped our slate clean
how many times
 has He called us redeemed
even though we 
will not ever be worthy
to even be called His slave
how many times
has He forgiven our sin
how many times
again and again
even though we
will not ever be worthy
to even be called His slave
how many times 
has He called us His child
how many times
has He given that title
even though we
will not ever be worthy
to even be called His slave-
He calls us His child instead
~written 3.25.17


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I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. // Isaiah 44:22

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight... // Ephesians 1:7-8

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. // Galatians 4:4-5

9.12.2017

[ just a reminder #1 ] His Deep Deep Love


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O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free! 
Rolling as a mighty ocean 
In its fullness over me! 
Underneath me, all around me, 
Is the current of Thy love 
Leading onward, leading homeward 
To Thy glorious rest above! 



O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 
Spread His praise from shore to shore! 
How He loveth, ever loveth, 
Changeth never, nevermore! 
How He watches o'er His loved ones, 
Died to call them all His own; 
How for them He intercedeth, 
Watcheth o'er them from the throne!



O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 
Love of every love the best! 
Tis an ocean vast of blessing, 
Tis a haven sweet of rest! 
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 
Tis a heaven of heavens to me; 
And it lifts me up to glory, 
For it lifts me up to Thee!
~lyrics by Samuel T. Francis 


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...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. // Ephesians 3:17-19


9.06.2017

Isolated Blog Tour


I'm so excited today to be able to participate in the blog tour for Isolated, Jordy Leigh's recently published debut novella! Jordy is a fantastic author with an amazing heart for God, and I was thrilled to be able to read and review Isolated recently in preparation for this blog tour, which will feature a selected portion of the novella in the spotlight as well as some of my reflections.


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About the book:
Fourteen-year-old Louise Stella flees into the forest to escape an intruder who would take her hostage. But by the time she returns to her house, her country has broken out in war and her home island has become a military base. Sharing the land with enemy soldiers, Louise’s only goal is to stay alive one day at a time. Having no food or water, and little knowledge of how to survive in the forests of Quebec, her biggest adversary is “the Unknown”. Her pride crumbles and she realizes that she can’t sustain herself. She must depend on someone else... but Whom?

Isolated is a Young Adult suspense novella with uncertainty lurking at every turn. It will have you asking the big questions about life and death. Will you come to the same conclusion as Louise?






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There are so many portions of Isolated that I could share, and I wish I could highlight all of them! Jordy has done a beautiful job of weaving Biblical, lifechanging truths with action-filled suspense that will keep you reading. {Warning: My thoughts and the excerpt below are slight spoilers}.
One of the main messages of the novella is that God will never give up on us- ever. Nothing that we can ever do, think, or say can change His plans, as Louise learns all too well!



....She knew everything there was to know about the Bible. But I don’t know God. And now she couldn’t help but feel that He was chasing her down; that He was after her soul. Will He ever give up? God, I don’t want to give you my life, so won’t You just stop… please? She threw her arms up in frustration.

Well, I’m not going to give up either. He can chase me down all He wants, but He won’t have me. Louise stuck out her bottom lip. She would show Him how fast she could run. Besides, He doesn’t know what I’m going through. Louise briefly considered the contradiction of her thoughts. How could a God Who didn’t know her situation chase her down so relentlessly. But in that moment of frustration, it was a detail she was willing to overlook. A few days ago, she didn’t even believe that God existed. It was much easier to resist Him then, but she could no longer deny Him.


This particular portion stuck out to me, as it reminded me of several Bible verses dealing with this very topic. Louise, although she is resistant to the things of God, feels like she is being "chased down" by Him- and she's right! God essentially"chases down" and brings to Himself everyone whom He has chosen. Romans 3:11 says "No one understands; no one seeks for God". It has nothing to do with us at all, as Ephesians 2:8-9 shows us. It has everything to do with God. John 6:65 explains: "....This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted to Him by the Father", and John 15:16 says "... You did not choose Me but I chose you...". 
It's pretty useless to argue with God, and I'm sure we're all quite glad that we don't always get what we think is best- becuase we usually have no idea what that is. As Louise is gradually learning throughout the novella, we can resist all we want but that changes nothing. God is always in control.
I think these paragraphs illustrate what a lot of people think about God -whether all the time or just occasionally. Also, knowing what the Bible says is not the same as knowing God, as Louise figures out at the beginning of the paragraph. Unfortunately, I think that's a common mistake that many make today. Knowing God is vital to knowing everything else we need to know!
Again, this is just one of many amazing parts of Isolated that encouraged, inspired, or really got me thinking. We need more books that do just that!


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Isolated will be officially published on September 11, but there is plenty you can do in the meantime!






About the author:
From as young as seven years old, Jordy Leigh filled exercise booklets with stories until her hand hurt. She loves a good book, but ultimately she hopes that hers will offer something of greater value than short-lived entertainment. In reading them, may you learn more about the God of the Bible.

Jordy Leigh hopes that Isolated will at once quench your desire for compelling fiction and nourish your soul with wholesome truth.



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I hope you enjoyed learning more about Jordy's new novella and that you'll take the time visit and follow her blog, read Isolated for yourself, or support this wonderful author and her commitment to writing God-honoring fiction in some other way.
Have you read Isolated? If so, what did you think about it? If not, does it sound like something you'd like to read?

8.24.2017

The Hardest Thing

Okay. This post deserves a little bit of explanation. About a year ago, I came across this post from the blog On the Other Side of Reality. The author's most recent post was titled The Hardest Thing and described a deep, sad, picture of life and its end. As I read it, I realized that indeed, a lot of people believe that and live like that every day... and my heart felt so heavy for those, those who essentially have no hope.
The author has allowed me to write something based of off her original work, which is intended to show another "hardest thing"- in my opinion, the hardest thing that can happen to a believer in Christ.
Please understand- this post is in no way is intended to hold anything against or put down the the author, what she writes, or what she believes. Since she identifies as an agnostic, I would not agree with most of her beliefs, but in this case my point is not to disagree or argue anything- I only wanted to share my take on a heartfelt glimpse of what the future holds for a person. Again, go ahead and read the original post before reading my spinoff, and thanks again to the author for allowing me to share this.


{image mine}


....is when you know you could have done more, done better, done it well. You knew how to sing, to dance, to write, draw, and speak- but you didn't do it for the right reason. You had money and power, influence and skill, but what is left of you? What is there to show in the light of eternity? The only thing that just kept you going on- just barely hanging on, day after day- was that secret hope that one day you might find out the real reason for life. You didn't bother looking into it then, although it would have been the only thing that would have smoothed away the tears and stress and emptiness of life and let you see the world like it is.

And so you learned to live your life that way. You kept it all inside, but finally, nearly at the last minute, you found out. You gave in to what you knew must have existed all along- that gentle voice that tugged at your soul. And when you finally exited this world there was Someone on the other side to comfort you. However, there were no loving arms and gentle reassurances in this one as you slowly exited this life, there were no grave performances or dramatic memorials as you returned to the dust where you came. And you know it's all your own fault. All there is is Him- suddenly the only thing you ever knew was ever enough, as you are swept away for eternity. In that final moment, there is peace. There wasn't what you expected, though- no congratulations on your earthly accomplishments and successes, only Him and that overwhelming wave of remembrance of what you could have done with your life but didn't, and then everything else fading out and a new life beginning forever. 

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If you are a believer in Christ, would you agree that the thought of a wasted life- with nothing left to give Him- is the hardest thing? Of course, we can never come to Christ "too late", as everything is in His timing, and we know that He alone is enough -that we can never do anything to earn heaven- but our love for Him in this life is proved by our actions. How sad to have nothing to show.
I would love to know your thoughts about this. What do you think is the hardest thing? 

8.12.2017

Not Based, Just Placed

{image mine}



 Some common things in life
that we all need to survive
are often taken for granted
and even overlooked.
And sometimes, when we get them,
they're accredited to the wrong.
We didn't do anything for them.
We just got them.

Grace- it means gift
but few understand that.
After all, nothings's free, right?
And we just can't fathom
that it has nothing to do with us.

Love- it's really a verb
but few understand that.
It's not just about feelings.
And we just can't fathom
how God could continually love us.

Mercy- it's our prepaid ticket
but few understand that.
God's mercy is daily.
And we just can't fathom
how we can even need it.

What we're forgetting
is a really big deal.
But it all comes down
to just two letters.

God's gifts to us
(which is everything)
are not based on us-
just placed on us.

So let's remember this 
as well as all those other things
so common, yet necessary
in our everyday lives.
we didn't do anything for them.
We just got them.
Because they're not based on us,
just placed on us by Him,
who loves His children
by His goodness and grace.

And let's be sure
to let others know
that these blessings we have
are not based-
just placed.

-written 8.8.17

7.21.2017

Encouragement from Romans 5 + A Brief Announcement

Hello, readers!
I hope you are all having a lovely summer. I know that posts on A Purpose and A Promise have been rather erratic lately, but honestly, I've been okay with that. Before, I would have been all stressed out that my posting schedule got messed up, but God's been teaching me a lot lately, and that's included the real meaning of peace. Peace isn't always calm and quiet; it's isn't always the feeling that everything will turn out alright for you. To a degree, peace is knowing that God is in control and trusting fully in that promise, no matter what. At least, that's what God has been showing me about peace lately. 
Reading in Romans 5 has been a real encouragement lately- not only about peace, but about the hope we have as children of God, why there are trials in our lives and how they actually are for our benefit, and a reminder of the best news of all- how Jesus gave His life so ours could be reconciled to God. The first eleven verses are below, but you can read the whole chapter here.


Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. // Romans 5: 1-11 

That said, I do have a small announcement. I will be taking an official break from posting on A Purpose and A Promise for at least three weeks, perhaps a little more. At the moment, I'm not planning on stopping indefinitely, but I think hiatuses are good for everyone. =) I wanted to say it in an actual post, instead of just abandoning the blog for a month. No, I haven't come close to doing that this month.

Thanks again for reading, following, and commenting on A Purpose and A Promise! I have been so blessed by my wonderful readers for this year and a half, learning and growing on this adventure. 

Have a wonderful remainder of your summer, blessed with peace that can only come from Jesus. ♥

7.04.2017

Freedom





O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood 
From sea to shining sea! 

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! 
God mend thine every flaw, 
Confirm thy soul in self-control, 
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America! 
May God thy gold refine, 
Till all success be nobleness, 
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! 
God shed His grace on thee 
And crown thy good with brotherhood 
From sea to shining sea!
~America the Beautiful, words by Katherine L. Bates 



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And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. // John 8:32

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself // Galatians 5:13-14

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. // Romans 8:1-4


















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To those of you who are Americans- Happy Independence Day! God has blessed us with remarkable freedom for nearly two and a half decades in America, and we should never forget what He has given us.
To all believers- no matter what country you live in- we are all blessed with the true freedom found in God's Word, though Jesus! He gives us the ultimate freedom, and may we never forget that as we strive to tell others about this true Freedom found in Christ.





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O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heaven rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - “In God is our trust,” 
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

-The Star-Spangled Banner (fifth verse), words by Francis Scott Key



6.20.2017

Tuesday Thoughts [4]- Real Love

{via}


love isn't always a feeling.
it's more of an action,
becuase love isn't sometimes-
it's for always,
and feelings only last so long
before they die away.
real love isn't like that;
it's an ongoing sacrifice
-and sometimes it hurts-
but it's worth it if it's real.
so don't rely on feelings
as your confirmation about love.
becuase while feelings will fade,
real love never fails.
- written 4.27.17

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Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. // John 15:13

....Love never fails... // 1 Corinthians 13:8a

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. // Romans 5:8

6.10.2017

More Love


If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. // I Corinthians 13

Love is a word so misused in today's culture. We seem to have a lot of it, yet I really think that we don't have enough of it. Enough of the right kind of love, anyway. We have plenty of the wrong, mixed up kind!
The right kind of love is the kind that the Bible instructs us about- the kind of sacrificial love that Jesus displayed. Of course, we can't ever come close to having that kind of love for someone else, but God has given us some guidelines to follow regarding the kind of love we can have with His help. The Bible talks a lot about love in many places, but one of the verses that struck me recently was John 13:35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” How convicting!

I'm convinced that what the world needs is more genuine love. More love for others, and more love for Jesus. If we have love for Him, we should have love for others, so perhaps starting with loving Him more is the way we need to go. This post is a fantastic look at what loving Jesus more should look like.


None of us can love perfectly, but all of us can love more. That's most important thing. We don't have to- and can never- love perfectly, but we can- and should be- striving to love more as we learn and grow in Christ. That's a huge goal to have, but it's an important one! (Besides, I love having big goals and seeing what comes of them- especially when they're something that can only be done with Jesus' help, such as having more love for Him!) I have a long way to go with this goal, but I know it's vital for the future. And of course, with God, nothing is impossible. ♥

What do you think about this idea of having more love- more love for God, more love for others, more love for the world? Do you have any ideas on how we can love more like Jesus? Comment and join the conversation!

5.31.2017

Wednesday Words [1]- Spring Rain




the spring rain thunders down
in torrents and streams,
dripping and splashing and
speckling the windowpane.
it silences my heart,
making me stop to
listen
look
and feel.
it slows to a drizzle
drip drip dripdroping
then pours down again.
the rhythm,
the sound,
the patterns,
they all remind me of my heart
and its feelings.
they ebb and flow,
just like the spring rain
and reminds me
that God's love never fails.
it comes and restores.
it wipes away the doubts.
it cleanses and refreshes.
just like the rain.
listen
look
 and feel.
be refreshed with His love,
just like the spring rain.
- written 5.4.17

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 "...Rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm clouds, and he will give them showers of rain.." // Zachariah 10:1


“Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the Lord have created it." // Isaiah 45:8

5.20.2017

The Heavens Declare (Psalm 19)

The Psalms are all so beautiful that it's very hard to for me to pick a favorite one! I do have favorites, though, and among my favorites is Psalms 19, in which the psalmist begins by saying "the heavens declare the glory of God". It's true! When I see a beautiful sunset, I'm reminded of the stunning glory of God- and thankful that He allows us to experience just tiny glimpse of it through natural beauties like breathtaking sunsets. Below is Psalm 19, accompanied by some snapshots of sunsets over the years. (Note: the photos below are mine.)



The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge.


There is no speech, nor are there words whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.



In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. 


Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. 



The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; 


the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.



More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.


Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!


Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.



Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Lord, my rock and my redeemer.



 
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