BY HIS WOUNDS, WE ARE HEALED!

An Encouraged Heart

As we take time as a body to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, I searched this week for a contemporary song about Christ’s sacrifice. “By His Wounds” which is based on the fifth verse of Isaiah 53, so clearly describes the coming Messiah and the suffering He would endure in order to pay for our sins. In His sovereignty, God orchestrated every detail of the crucifixion to fulfill every prophecy of this chapter, as well as all other prophecies of the Old Testament  (http://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Isaiah.html).

Isaiah 53:5 reads — But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. (NIV)

I encourage you to take time to mediate on the words of this song, and give thanks for the privilege of walking with Christ.

BY HIS WOUNDS

He was pierced for our…

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HIS LOVE IS EVERLASTING!

Happy Valentine’s Day,
It has been a while since I last communicated with you all. Although, I haven’t posted in a bit, I have thought much about the community of visitors and fellow bloggers that I have come to know. I certainly hope that today, Valentine’s Day, you are thinking about the unfailing love that our Lord has for each of us. Sometimes, I know that it is difficult to understand the depth of His love.

Most recently, I have been studying the book of Isaiah through Precepts. If you have never taken a class through Precepts, I strongly encourage you to do so. Throughout this book in the Old Testament, God showed His great love for His people even though time after time, many who claimed to know Him, strayed. Nevertheless, He had a plan for His people. There would be judgement, but God’s plan also offered hope…restoration…forgiveness…and…love. And…we are also recipients of the same, today.

ROMANS 8:38-39
For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I leave you with a few songs that remind me of God’s everlasting love!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au1P4h0ZC3k


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUgpGQiazTM

Thanks for visiting AnEncouragedHeart. Signing off…God Bless! Cynthia

WISHING YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I pray that this Christmas season for each of you will be one that is shared with family, old friends, new friends, and even strangers. Let’s remember those whose hearts are a bit broken, and those of us who may not truly be in the “Christmas spirit”. I pray that each one of us will remember the hope that we have because we are followers of Christ…and share that hope with others. The hope of Christ reminds me of the Apostle Paul‘s prayer to the saints in Ephesus (Ephesians 1:17-18).

17 [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him,

18 By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones).

I would like to share one of my favorite Christmas hymns with you – “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” — A song of hope and reconciliation. This rendition is a bit contemporary although the words that I have included in this post are quite dated.  Also, I have included a second video which addresses the song from both a historical and theological perspective.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaQuWlnt0OQ&playnext=1&list=PL0D3EC3C01192851A&        feature=results_video      

      

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_k4rl2TOh4     

O Come O Come Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse Free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny From depths of hell, Thy people save And give them victory o’er the grave

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou day-spring, come and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here Disperse the gloomy clouds of night And death’s dark shadows put to flight

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou, key of David, come And open wide our heavenly home Make safe the way that leads on high And close the path to misery

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height In ancient times did’st give the law In cloud and majesty and awe

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel

Thanks for visiting AnEncouragedHeart. Signing off…God Bless! Cynthia

ALWAYS BY MY SIDE

As you know, if you have spent any time visiting my blog that I am a lover of uplifting, worship music.  I have shared Chris Tomlin’s music quite often here. Once again, I would like to share some encouraging words from him. The lyrics to one of his most recent songs, “Whom Shall I Fear? [God of Angel Armies]”, has resonated with me, and has remained close to my heart in some challenging times.  The words are like prayers to me in that they are promises of God that I have embraced personally.  They have brought me comfort and strength when my heart and mind needed them most.

Isaiah 54:17 (Amplified Bible)

But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord.

I am sharing two clips with you — the song itself, and the artist sharing how he believes God brought these words to life.

Whom Shall I Fear? [God of Angel Armies]

Verse 1:

You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light

Whom shall I fear

Verse 2:

You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my Sword and Shield
Though trouble lingers still

Whom shall I fear

Chorus:

I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always on my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

Verse 3:

My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory

Chorus:

I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always on my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear

Bridge:

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding onto Your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful
You are faithful

Chorus:

I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always on my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

Chorus:

I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always on my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

Outro:

The God of angel armies is always by my side

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nykPjrAyoJ0&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F47U1aWRjfM

Thanks for visiting AnEncouragedHeart. Signing off…God Bless! Cynthia

CALL UPON HIM!

Keep it simple. Tell how the Lord has changed you. These were words that I heard on the radio while driving to work this week as it relates to sharing the gospel. This, however, does not mean to “water-down” the key message:

Romans 5:6-8 (Amplified)

6 While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly.

7 Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die.

8 But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.

The radio host went on to say that sometimes we have a fear of sharing the Lord with others because we try to conjure up the right words. We can easily complicate things, and in the end never take the opportunity to share the gospel with those who have been placed in our paths.  The last thing that someone on the receiving end wants to hear is a list of clichés or confusing theology. I would say, at least based on my experience, that people want to hear words that are born out of a true encounter with God; words and a life that express what He has done for us, and who He has become to us after we first submitted our lives to Him.

Take a minute to recall your own conversion. I heard “Born Again” by Third Day, and recounted!  I still remember the evening that I gave my whole heart to the Lord. I also made the decision to get baptized that evening — January 7, 1987. That was just the beginning!

Romans 10:13 (Amplified)

For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8q_FTRNTDbU

Today I found myself
After searching all these years
And the man that I saw, he wasn’t at all who I thought he’d be
I was lost when you found me here
And I was broken beyond repair
Then you came along and you sang your song over me

It feels like I’m born again
It feels like I’m living
For the very first time
For the very first time
In my life

Make a promise to me now
Reassure my heart somehow
That the love that I feel is so much more real than anything
I’ve a feeling in my soul
And I pray that I’m not wrong
That the life I have now, it is only the beginning

It feels like I’m born again
It feels like I’m living
For the very first time
For the very first time
It feels like I’m breathing
It feels like I’m moving
For the very first time
For the very first time

I wasn’t looking for something that was more
Than what I had yesterday
Then you came to me and you gave to me
Life and a love that I’ve never known
That I’ve never felt before

It feels like I’m born again
It feels like I’m living
For the very first time
I’m living for the first time
It feels like I’m breathing
It feels like I’m moving
For the very first time
I’m living for the first time
In my life

Thanks for visiting AnEncouragedHeart. Signing off…God Bless! Cynthia

NO ONE LIKE OUR GOD

There are greater things to be done in our world…. because He is our God! Like many of you, I watched the first presidential debate this past week. I couldn’t wait to see the two men spar against one another — wondering who would emerge this time as the victor.  No matter what you or I thought, I remembered who is ultimately in control of my future, of our future — if we would submit and allow Him to lead us!  When we rely solely on our own wisdom, how can we possibly know what is best for us without His abiding presence?

The God of This City” by Chris Tomlin is a wonderful song that reminds me that He is all-powerful, and greater things are still to be done through the people of God — by the power of His Spirit and the power of His Word!  It is easy to find something to whine about, but it takes a deliberate act to pray before the litany of complaints flow from our hearts.  I pray that the Lord will continue to convict my heart when that happens, and help me to be bold so that I am present in the lives us others.  Let us make a commitment to pray not only for this nation, but for all nations. We are mandated to pray for those in leadership as referenced in one of the Apostle Paul’s letters.

1 Timothy 2: 1-10 (The Message)

1-3The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

4-7 He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.

8-10 Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGkEE5dwmdY

Thanks for visiting AnEncouragedHeart. Signing off…God Bless! Cynthia

HE IS FOR US!

Hello …It has been several weeks since my last post. I hope to get back on track and share with you what the Lord has put on my heart as well as the things that have made a lasting impression in my mind and heart. Those inspirational moments come quite often through His word, songs of worship, and from the heart of other believers who desire to share their day-to-day faith with others.

This past weekend I attended a family reunion, and had the chance to get reacquainted with a number of relatives. The family banquet, which was the culminating event, was something quite special. As we updated our extended family on what was happening in our lives, more than not, God’s name was exalted. There were testimonies of healings, jobs, and other blessings, but as one relative shared in a song, God is faithful and is with us through it all. We can take comfort in this truth!

Please take a minute to mediatate on the following passage.  It helps me to understand the depth of God’s love for each one of us. And, please listen to the song that follows–another reminder of this immense love!

Romans 8:31-39

31 What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]

32 He who did not withhold or spare [even] His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all [other] things?

33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect [when it is] God Who justifies [that is, Who puts us in right relation to Himself? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, Who acquits us?]

34 Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?

35 Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword?

36 Even as it is written, For Thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSXHkjHabJk

Thanks for visiting AnEncouragedHeart. Signing off…God Bless! Cynthia