Archive for June, 2012

Resting at the River’s Edge provides an opportunity to participate in reading through the Bible in a systematic way. Here’s more details about the plan and our schedules.

Track your reading along with us using the table below, the downloadable half-page PDF or the July/August bookmark.

Share with others what God is teaching you. E-mail me, leave a message on the Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog.

Enjoy God as you begin to enjoy summer!
Sandy

Download All 2012 Bookmarks Here

Download only the July/August 2012 Bookmark Here

Download a Half-Page PDF of the July Reading Plan Here

Here’s July’s reading plan:

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Top Ten Most Influential Christians Since the ApostlesLast two days to register to win a copy of the book
Top Ten Most Influential Christians Since the Apostles

Just a quick reminder, friends, that late tomorrow, July 1, we’ll be drawing to see who wins a free copy of Top Ten Most Influential Christians Since the Apostles.

Click here to download an excerpt of the chapter I wrote for the book and to register for a chance to win a copy.

The book is a compilation of chapters by thirteen authors from a wide range of theological backgrounds, vocations and life experiences. For more about the book, check out the blog I wrote announcing its publication.

Following is are excerpts from two reviews of the book. (You can find additional reviews and more about the book here.)

Top Ten Most Influential Christians Since the Apostles lives up to its goal of answering the question: “Which self-professed Christians have had the most influence on today’s Christianity? And what happened in their lives that may have earned them this honor?”

In a clear, down-to-earth fashion, [the authors] attempt to make sense of the messy business that is Church history by sharing the stories of those who have left a lasting impact upon the face of Christianity.

Designed to serve as a basic introduction to Church history, the authors have done a phenomenal job of presenting a fair, balanced picture of Christianity’s legendary figures, leaving individual readers to draw their own conclusions about the theology which they espoused…

I found the book to be a delightful read and can easily recommend it to anyone who is interested in Church history, but isn’t entirely certain where to begin.
Ben Umnus, host of the radio program The Christian Perspective

I was pleasantly surprised by what an easy read this was. Not one to love history or the boring details of things and lives, this was well done. It is easy to follow and you all certainly did achieve your goal of not being judgmental of the individuals but only reported on their actions and the resulting influences…

This is a great way to get an overview of the history of the people of the church….Well done!
Rev. Dr. Paul C. Hunsicker, Sr.

Click here to register to win a copy.

Click here to purchase the book. Enter “Top Ten” in the search box in the upper right corner of the screen and the book will appear below the search box. Click on the book and then add it to your cart.

If you want to purchase more than 10 copies, email Sandy@ApprehendingGrace.com for discount pricing.

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3And [Jesus] said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3-4 (NIV)

An element of childlikeness is the freedom to fail; the joy of trying…the “I don’t have to know everything before I try something” attitude. Does it get them in trouble? Yes, sometimes it does. Do they try again? Yes. Sometimes over and over and over again.

As we grow, we lose that spontaneity to try new things before we have all the answers and the resiliency to try over and over again. At the same time, we “gain” too much of an “appreciation” (aka fear) of the stigma associated with failure. So we take less risks and our life becomes safer and safer and safer.

I’m not advocating immaturity or irresponsibility, but I am advocating living in such a way that we take risks, knowing that we might fail sometimes, but also knowing that little is accomplished for the Kingdom of God by playing it safe. Not taking risks means you are living your life within your own capabilities – which are way inferior to God’s.

I want to be known for trying…even if I fail. Sometimes I need to be reminded of that because I don’t like to fail. I like to be viewed as in control, competent and on top of things. Those are good things…except when they’re not. Because quite frankly, faith – the kind of faith I want to be known for – means not having all the answers, but trusting the One who does.

I want to live my life beyond my capabilities so that God’s power can be seen by those around me. And sometimes I’ll misjudge or hear Him wrong and I’ll fail. I want to be OK with that. I’m working on it.

This week…go for it! Step out in some way – trust God to catch you if you fall and be willing to look less than 100% in control, competent and on top of things for the furtherance of His Kingdom.

By the way – my experience is that living in such a way increases the likelihood that you will see God move in your life tremendously. If you want to live an extraordinary life considering making yourself available to God to use in extraordinary ways. Then just enjoy the scenery!

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Coronet - A Star-Formation Neighbor

1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…14Then God said, “Let great lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them mark off the seasons, days, and years…16God made two great lights, the sun and the moon—the larger one to govern the day, and the smaller one to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set these lights in the sky to light the earth, 18 to govern the day and night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:1,14, 16-18 (NLT)

When I read this passage, I think of creation as a completed act. Yet there is nothing in Scripture that says God stopped creating, and if we look at the nature of our Creator…we see that is very nature is to create! (Uh, duh! Sometimes I’m not really as smart as I look!) He created nature (and people) to re-create, building His creative nature into all that He created. There’s certainly a spiritual lesson in that – we’re to go to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19, NLT)

This is an image from space that is one of the “most active regions of ongoing star formation.” Ongoing star formation – the stars are reproducing. Maybe you knew that, but didn’t.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.
Psalm 19:1 (NLT)

Amen.

Learn more about the Coronet here.

Image Credit: NASA/CXC/JPL-Caltech/CfA

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Top Ten Most Influential Christians Since the ApostlesI’m excited to announce the publication of a biographical book on – you guessed it – the Top Ten Most Influential Christians Since the Apostles. I am honored to have written one of the chapters. The Top Ten Most Influential Christians since the Apostles is a compilation of chapters by thirteen authors from a wide range of theological backgrounds, vocations and life experiences. The top ten were selected after surveying Christians from across twenty-first century Christiandom. The editors maintain that the results of the survey are a “portrayal of what today’s American Christian church believes.” You’ll find chapters about these gentlemen:

  • Thomas Acquinas
  • John Calvin
  • Athanasius of Alexandria
  • John Wycliffe
  • Billy Graham

And of course five (six actually because one chapter covers two brothers) others – Can you guess who they are? And who made the top of the list? I’ll keep you guessing for now.

A final chapter of the book covers the top eleven through twenty most influential Christians.

I wrote the chapter about Billy Graham and focused on two things:

  1. The four commitments Rev. Graham made to God that became the key to God using and blessing him over such a long career; and
  2. Rev. Graham’s far-reaching influence, which can be described by nothing short of a sovereign move of God. He had significant influence in the American church, in American life and culture, and in American politics.

I have always been drawn to Christian biographies. This book gives us a glimpse at men who have shaped Christian thinking throughout history, teaching us lessons in faith, courage, humility and perseverance along the way. Click here to purchase the book. Enter “Top Ten” in the search box in the upper right corner of the screen and the book will appear below the search box. Click on the book and then add it to your cart.

But wait! We are giving a free copy on July 1st to one reader. Click here to download an excerpt from the book and be entered into the drawing for a free copy of the book.

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I did two foolish things yesterday. And I am praising God for His awesome protection. First, I decided to run on the treadmill without wearing the safety clip. The safety clip triggers an automatic shut-off if the runner moves too far from the controls – in other words, if he or she falls off the treadmill. My second foolish act (within a period of less than five minutes) was to close my itching eyes and rub them while running.

That’s when I fell off the treadmill, which of course didn’t stop treading (or is it milling?).

Our treadmill is in a very enclosed space, so all I could think about was rolling into the small space beside the treadmill to get away from the moving belt. My knee was a bit wrenched and my foot (which I’ve broken twice) was hurting. I immediately thought of all the things I having coming up over the next few weeks and how I really didn’t want to have to do them on crutches. Then my spirit kicked in and instead of staying in the place of expecting the worst, I remembered that God is able. There has been a verifiable miraculous healing in our community recently – a woman with two broken feet was healed by the power of our miracle working God after the breaks were confirmed by x-rays taken at the ER but before her appointment with an orthopedic. There have been other incidents where it is clear that God has intervened. I remembered those incidents and I asked God to restore any damage that might have been done to my knee and foot.

Then I waited for a few minutes for the pain to subside. I began to think that if I didn’t walk a bit my muscles would stiffen up – leaving my wrenched knee wrenched. I felt like I needed to walk it out and trust that my foot would be fine. No, I didn’t have a specific word from the Lord that I should do so, but I did have a strong sense that I shouldn’t lay there  (even though my husband would have found me very soon). So I very cautiously stood up and began to walk. And God, in His graciousness, either healed me or protected me from injury. Hallelujah! I’ll take either.

This evening I’m sitting here looking at the space between the end of our treadmill and the wall and I can’t explain how my foot didn’t get trapped there and then twist to the point of breaking. The other two times I broke my foot, it was a relatively minor twist that caused the break. But yesterday, God protected me. He is so good.

So today I want to publicly praise God for two things – (1) that I so quickly changed from expecting the worst to remembering God’s goodness, and (2) for His healing and protection when I fell. I have been praying about and working on not expecting bad outcomes. I serve a God who lavishes His gifts upon us and who fights my battles for me. I want to expect good outcomes when I get hit with life. Well, I got hit with life yesterday (due to my own foolishness) and I quickly moved from expecting the worst to trusting God for the best. Thank You, Lord, for continually conforming me to Your image. I’m not there yet, but I’m so glad, so thankful, that You keep me moving in the right direction. And thank You, Lord, for your tremendous, awesome power to protect us even from our own foolishness. (How did I ever think I could close and rub my eyes while running on a treadmill?) Thanks for keeping me from harm and healing all injury that occurred except the slightest soreness in my foot. I think perhaps if my foot weren’t slightly sore, I wouldn’t remember to be thankful so often today.

Friends, I hope you weren’t as foolish as me yesterday and that it didn’t take falling off the treadmill to remind you of God’s awesome goodness. Let’s praise Him in all things – because whether we’ve fallen off a treadmill recently or not – (1) He is working to conform us to the image of Christ and (2) He is protecting and healing us 24/7. What an awesome God we serve!

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Tuesday’s blog was all about God’s desire to transform our minds – to rearrange the way we think so that the way we live is ultimately rearranged.

 “Faith is not idleness, it’s an action word,” my pastor said recently. He went on to say “God wants to entrust this world to us.”

Isn’t that exciting? It is for me:

  • First, I’m excited that faith isn’t just sitting piously in my prayer room. (I’m not dissing praying! Prayer can be pretty exciting, too…Hmmm…I should blog about that soon!) Faith is an action word! Read the New Testament and you won’t find much idleness.
  • Second, I’m excited that God wants to entrust this world to us! It is our responsibility to bring His Kingdom to earth. We learn about that Kingdom through His Word and our obedience. As we obey – that is, as we take actions to do what His Word teaches, not simply give mental assent to it, He responds by giving us the keys to the Kingdom, by entrusting this world to us.

There’s a degree to which, we have to mature into that trust. You don’t give the keys to your best car to your teenager the moment he or she turns 16. No, you watch to see that they have developed the maturity required to handle the car you give him the keys to. Likewise, God is going to give us keys to the Kingdom, but He’s going to do it progressively as we mature. That means not only rearranging our thoughts, but also rearranging our actions. Because God doesn’t only want us to think differently, He also wants us to act differently.

Faith is an action word! It is a way of living.

For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.
1 Corinthians 4:20 (NLT)

The Kingdom of God is not in the rearrangement of words, either on paper or in our minds – it is living by God’s power. God first rearranges our thoughts – causing us to think differently, but in the process we are transformed…so that we act differently and can transform our world. We are renewed so that we can live by God’s power.

For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.
1 Corinthians 4:20 (NLT)

When God highlighted that verse to me this week, the thought that immediately followed it was “we settle for too little…” and “we expect too little from God!”

Scripture uses strong language –

  • Be transformed, renewed (Romans 12:2a)
  • By Scripture that is alive and powerfulRemember, the word that was translated as “power” is the word “energace” from which we get energy – active power, effective power (Hebrews 4:12)
  • By that is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16)
  • So that you are living by God’s power (1 Corinthians 4:20)– the word translated “power” here is “dunamis,” from which we get dynamite  – miraculous power, explosive power!

We settle for too little. The Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk – it is living by God’s power. That’s not the power to get through the day. That’s not the power to overcome the things of everyday life that those who don’t know Christ overcome by simply getting on with life. It’s power to live differently – power to change – transform the world. It’s the power to think differently. I said in our small group last week that I’m tired of negativity in my life – tired of expecting bad things to result. When I face challenges, I want to anticipate God’s energace and dunamis power – His effective, active, explosive power.

I have a magnet on my task board at work that says “Only those who attempt the ridiculous can expect the miraculous.” I’m not suggesting that we all go out and attempt ridiculous things. There’s a difference between presuming upon God – that is, simply stepping out into whatever we want to do and expecting Him to “rescue” us. There’s a difference between that and stepping out in faith into what God has called us. Yet often, God calls each one of us – not just the “professional” Christians, not just missionaries, not just extraordinarily gifted people – each one of us, to things that are bigger than we are. And it’s not until we attempt those “ridiculous” things that we’ll see God’s energace, dunamis power.

For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.
1 Corinthians 4:20 (NLT)

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10 (KJV)

energace…dunamis

I expect too little from God. And I don’t believe it honors Him. I look at what I have to do and I can’t get it done and I hope He’ll help me meet my deadlines. He will and He has, but He has bigger things He wants me to do. I want to pray for and believe for those bigger things and live my life accordingly.

I have a two-fold assignment for you this week. (Yes, I’m giving you an assignment.)

  • First, read Scripture every day! Challenge yourself to pray, ask God to open your spirit, then read. God’s transforming power comes first and foremost through His Word. Read Scripture every day with the attitude “Lord, teach me from your Word.”
  • Second, trust God for one thing that is bigger than you’ve ever trusted Him for before. If you know what that thing is, if something has already come to mind, write it down and carry it with you. If you don’t know, maybe your one thing needs to be asking Him to show you a bigger thing to trust Him for.

A few weeks ago I wrote a series titled “Living…Like Someone Left the Gate Open.” My key passage for the series was 2 Corinthians 3:12 and 17. Let’s expand that passage by one verse:

12Therefore, since we have such a hope [that is, the hope of our glorious salvation], we are very bold….17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Cor 3:12, 17-18 (NIV)

 

God’s power – energace and dunamis power – at work in and through us transforms us so that when we boldly live like someone left the gate open, we reflect the Lord’s glory to the world. Hallelujah! Look in the mirror – are you beginning to see a new you that is reflecting the glory of the Lord? It’s often difficult to see it in ourselves, but if you are pursuing God diligently, if you are asking Him to transform you and reading His Word regularly, He will do it. And the world will see Christ in you – you will reflect His glory! I’ll take that. I’m willing to sacrifice for that. How about you? Let’s pursue transformation together. Let’s rearrange our lives around Christ and His purposes.

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13For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.”
Psalm 139:13-14a

I missed blogging on Wonders of God Wednesday last week because I spent the day at the hospital with a friend whose husband was having a heart valve transplant. So I did just a little research on the heart.

Did you know that an average heart beats about 115,000 times per day! That’s more than 42 million times in one year! My mom turned 80 years old this year; that means her heart has beat more than 3 billion times since she was born! And not one of those times did she consciously try to make her heart beat. Her brain just sent the signal to her heart muscle over and over again…115,000 times each day…more than 3 billion times in her life.

As our heart beats, it sends blood through our body in an amazing system of arteries, veins and capillaries. If you laid out all the blood vessels in your body (don’t do this at home, folks) they would be 60,000 miles long. That’s long enough to go around the world more than twice!

We are truly fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank You, Lord!

Here’s a short video. It’s a little boring…but it’s only a minute and a half long, and it lets you see what I’ve just described.

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Two weeks ago my pastor made this comment in his sermon: “we must rearrange our lives around living through Christ.” When he said that, my brain exploded a bit. Every significant thing that happens in our lives requires rearrangements – a changing of patterns. When you got your first job…your life was rearranged. When you got married…your life was rearranged as you learned to live as a couple instead of as two individuals! When you had children…your life was really rearranged! When you came to Christ…was your life rearranged? I hope so. I trust that it was, because serving God means rearranges our lives:

  • Get up earlier to spend time with Him
  • Our schedules are rearranged when we honor Him by giving Him one day of our week
  • Our finances are rearranged when we begin to tithe and when we give offerings as He directs
  • Our lifestyle is rearranged as we pursue Christ more and more, leaving behind things that aren’t pleasing to Him

Looking at that short list, though I see that they are all rearrangements of our schedules and activities…but God wants to rearrange more than our schedules and activities – He also wants to rearrange how we think.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…
Romans 12:2a (NIV)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…
Romans 12:2a (NLT)

The word “conform” means “follow the pattern of” – it’s related to the word that we get the word “schematic” from.

Schematic…pattern…blueprint…

Don’t follow the patterns created or established by this world but let the power of God transform you by changing the way you think. Let God rearrange the way you think! Continually!

How do we do that? The process starts by studying God’s Word for ourselves. There is no substitute for letting God speak to you by studying the Bible. It’s why I create our Resting at the River’s Edge reading schedules – as an encouragement and aid to help you – to help me – read through the Bible consistently. And if reading through the Bible in 2 years is too much for you, take it slower. Read only the New Testament this year. That’s only 1 chapter a day five days a week. You can do that! You don’t need my permission, but I give you permission to ignore the other two columns in the schedule! Whether one chapter or ten, be in God’s Word every day.

In Romans 12:2, the word translated “renewing” in the NIV – “transformed by the renewing of our mind” – the word “renewing” carries the connotation of repetition. It’s not just made new or made new again, but made new again and again and again.

We need to continually allow God to rearrange our thinking – to challenge us. What kind of an attitude does it take to be challenged in our thinking? A humble one. We don’t go to God’s Word with the perspective “I’m going to read this and determine what it means. No, we go to God’s Word and say “Lord, will you teach me?”

In a good marriage or a good friendship, your life and your relationship is rearranged many times as you each grow and change. Phil and I have been married almost 34 years…about 3 years ago Phil developed an interest in tea. That interest literally lead to a rearrangement of our kitchen to make room for the new tea cabinet and our counters to make room for the teapot and various accoutrements that go with it. Phil’s developed another new interest lately. We’ve had long discussions – because I process things by talking about them – so we’ve had long discussions about schedules and finances and possessions and even our theology as our lives are rearranged simply by Phil developing a new interest.

Our relationship with God is not so different. It’s not that He changes His interests, but as we grow in Him, He reveals more and more of His heart to us and His desires for our lives.

As the bride of Christ…is your life being rearranged by Him regularly?

Studying God’s Word on a regular basis provides the instructions for rearranging our lives around Christ. When we meditate on Scripture, it provides the conversation, if you will, that allows us to process those instructions…to understand and to “own” them.

Words can rearrange our thinking, but it requires more than simply words to transform us into the people God wants us to be. Transformation requires the power of God. That power is alive in the words of Scripture. Hebrews tells us…

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)

Scripture doesn’t just inform us, it doesn’t just teach us, it transforms us by the power of God. The word translated “power” here is “energace” – energy – active power, effective power! When we start with prayer, asking God to open our hearts and minds and spirits, Scripture becomes alive and powerful. The words take on the power, the breath, of God.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV/NLT)

Some translations say “All Scripture is ‘inspired by God’” – “God-breathed” is actually a better translation because the word translated as “inspired by God” is one word in the Greek. Scripture is “God breathed” – it’s not just inspired by God – it is the very essence of God – His breath. It’s that miraculous relationship that God has with Scripture that enables it, that gives it the power to rearrange our thinking and transforms us.

Let’s let God’s Word transform our minds…who knows what exciting rearrangement of our lives that might bring!

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Revolution of the HeartWhen my husband and I started dating, I had a horrible self image. Yet (somehow – thank You, God!) Phil thought I was the most beautiful person in the world. He would tell me that I was beautiful and I would be embarrassed (because I certainly didn’t think it was true) and I figured it was just a line. He’s just a guy and it’s just a line he’s hoping will get him something.

But he kept saying it – every day…for years…and years…Even after we were married, he’d tell me how beautiful I was…until one day it dawned on me – this isn’t a line! Phil really thinks I’m beautiful!

And my self image began to change. And I began to become more confident because while I still didn’t think I was beautiful, there was someone who did. Someone important! Someone of value.

So I began to care not nearly as much what you think or what someone else thinks, because the most important person in the world thinks I’m beautiful. And you know what? Maybe, just maybe…it’s hard to admit it, but maybe it’s true…just maybe, I am beautiful!

And a revolution began in my heart and in my mind.

In my insecurities, I am that tall, gangly, dare I say ugly, teenager who didn’t know how to put on makeup or do anything with her hair, and I certainly didn’t know how to accessorize! I am the shy girl who has just moved to town and has no friends and doesn’t know how to make friends. I am the person who is afraid to talk to you because you might turn away from me and I’ll be humiliated. I’m the person who hates to make phone calls because I’ll be humiliated and won’t know what to say when you don’t remember who I am.

Let’s take feeling humiliated off the table! Let’s make it a non-issue! Let’s just decide “so what?” If I’m humiliated, I’m humiliated. God gives grace to the humble. Christ was humiliated. He understands. And He loves us. His opinion is the only one that matters.

Let the revolution begin in your heart! Meditate on these Scriptures – read them every day – over and over again! Listen for the voice of God saying them. Listen for the choir of angels providing background vocals as God sings them over you.

You are precious to me!

Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.
Isaiah 43:4 (NRSV)

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight.
1 Peter 2:4 (NRSV)

You are my treasured possession!

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
Deuteronomy 7:6 (NRSV)

You have been set apart as holy to the LORD your God, and he has chosen you from all the nations of the earth to be his own special treasure.
Deuteronomy 14:2 (NLT)

I created you when you were in your mother’s womb – carefully designed and made (hand-crafted), perfectly suited to the roles I’ve called you.

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
Isaiah 43:1 (NRSV)

For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13 (NRSV)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

You are beautiful, My lovely bride!

7Let us be glad and rejoice, and let us give honor to him. For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb, and his bride has prepared herself. 8She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.” For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
Revelation 19:7-8 (NLT)

You are My delight!

No, the LORD’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147:11 (NLT)

You are the apple of My eye!

9the LORD’s own portion was his people, Jacob his allotted share. 10He sustained him in a desert land, in a howling wilderness waste; he shielded him, cared for him, guarded him as the apple of his eye.
Deuteronomy 32:9-10 (NRSV)

You are My beloved child!

15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Romans 8:15-16 (NRSV)

You are My friend!

13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
John 15:13-15 (NRSV)

I chose you! I chose you!

You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.
John 15:16 (NRSV)

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