Masterpiece

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We had another awesome time at Simonka this evening. The theme was “Celebrating You”, about what God thinks of the women at the shelter, through Jesus (hint: good things!).

Once again, the subject was perfect timing, as I needed to refocus and take a breather for myself after the divorce, changing my name everywhere (I hadn’t realized just how many places and accounts it would affect!), and the emotional impact of all that’s happened this past month.

None of my existing poems quite fit the theme, however, I was feeling tired and not at all sure about writing an uplifting poem when I myself felt so depleted. So I prayed and left it up to God to speak through me or not.

Before attempting to write, I first had to remind myself who I am in God’s eyes and then hopefully pour out my thanks to Him on paper. Reviewing an organized list of Bible verses that my counselor friends gave me a long time ago that’s simply entitled “Who You Are In Christ”, I chose a few that jumped out at me, and as usual, references to a few other scriptures also found their way into my writing. Not surprisingly, by the time the last line was typed, I was feeling more centered and re-energized! Here’s the poem:

“Masterpiece”

Even when I feel depleted,
God, I find myself in You.
In all, Your will is completed,
Your strength always pulls me through.
For I am Your child, joint heir,
loved daughter, saint, Your friend.
Joyfully, my all to You I bare,
though You know me beginning to end.
In my every coming and going
You anticipate each thought!
Grand mystery, how, all-knowing,
You bring good and rework the plot.
Masterpiece in the making,
unfinished and carried by love
to shine so there’s no mistaking
that my worth comes from above.
For all that I am and will be
is from You and for Your glory;
In You I’m forgiven and free,
so I’ll keep sharing my story.
For You call me Your own,
by Your sufficient grace I stand.
You empower this flesh and bone
to carry out what You’ve planned.
May I always see myself as You do:
A warrior clothed in victory.
Walking boldly ahead as You
celebrate and sing over me.

5-27-18
© Ladeena Ashley

After I shared my poem at Simonka, my friend began his message by commenting that my poem really set him up well. He was right! I chuckled to myself several times as he cited most of the same verses and points. I hadn’t seen his notes, but the Lord had, and lined things up nicely!

Here are some of the highlights:

We are joint heirs with Christ – by grace we are made righteous and will have eternal life in heaven! Romans 5:17

We are children of God – we are loved, guided, and disciplined. John 1:12

We are called to shine like stars in the sky – we’re empowered to share the joy of salvation. Philippians 5:15

We are God’s friend – we can talk to Him about anything. His Spirit works with us and gives us wisdom. John 15:15

We are His workmanship – God created you on purpose! Ephesians 2:10

We are clothed in victory – we have victory over sin and death! 1 Corinthians 15:57

God delights in us and sings over us – God thinks we’re pretty great! Zephaniah 3:17

It’s important to know our standing with God, through faith in Christ. It’s entirely different than how the world sees us, but ultimately, God’s opinion is the only one that matters. God loves us so much that He actually rejoices and sings over us! It is vital to keep that in mind during difficult seasons, to keep hope and joy alive. On the flip side, however, when things are going well, we must also remember from Whom those blessings come!

I hope this helps you remember how God sees you through Christ, and that you’re living like you believe it!

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
All Rights Reserved (Blog content and photos)

God Is Good All the Time!

20170914_182822Cyclamen – September 14, 2017

 

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I’ve been thinking about this verse lately. Specifically, about how hard it can be sometimes to give thanks and worship God in all circumstances, especially with all that’s going on in the world these days. Sadly, less people seem to seek God, let alone worship Him. It’s become more difficult to rejoice and be thankful.

Why does the Lord ask us to do something that sounds nearly impossible at times? It’s a part of God’s command to love Him (Matthew 22:37), not just because He deserves it, but because He loves us so much, He knows what’s best for us, and by His grace He makes it possible. For me, maintaining a thankful heart keeps my mind from dwelling on any present hardship and instead focuses it on His indescribable love and grace. Hope lingers and grows as I recall how He has brought me through similar circumstances in the past. I don’t always know what I’m doing, God does, and by His grace He’ll continue carrying me into the future. So I rejoice and worship!

There’s really nothing else on earth quite like the deep peace and overwhelming love I experience in worshipful prayer: the eyes of my heart looking heavenward and my soul laid bare before my creator, with full trust in God’s care for me. His Spirit removes each thorn of sin as I confess it, replacing every ache with an inner strength and a sense of wholeness that is hard to explain. I am filled with gratitude for all He has done for me, in me and through me!

Here’s a little poem I wrote after a particularly uplifting time of prayer led to praise:

“A Peace of Praise”

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ forever!
The earth and everything in it are His.
I am His child
I am His unfinished masterpiece
I am His gem
I praise my Lord, my King, my Savior.
Peace comes like a wave;
All doubts, fears, anger, pain
disappear.
I can truly say
there’s nothing on my mind,
there’s nothing wrong,
because my Lord Jesus is on the throne
Peace will ever be my song
Forever!

7-6-94
©Ladeena Ashley

A Thankful Heart
Worship truly is the natural out-flowing of a thankful heart. The more I praise Him for what I have, the more I realize just how good He is to me, and in turn how good He is overall. Yet worship in its purest form is praising God for Who He is, not just what He does. Only out of full surrender and the deepest trust can I say “God is good” even when my circumstances are not.

Made For Worship
God thoughtfully created us to glorify and to worship Him (Psalm 8:4-6; Isaiah 43:7). We are made in His image, meaning that we each have emotions, thoughts and a will. As a result, sometimes we suffer when people exercise their free will by inflicting harm on others, or because we live in a fallen world and on a planet that is constantly shifting. Yet, the hurt, doubt and fear we feel do not make God any less worthy of worship. No, He is perfect in all of His ways, and His love for us never fails (Psalm 136:1).

How easily we’re able to rejoice and worship the Lord, particularly in difficult situations, reveals how deeply we know and trust the God we say we believe and follow. Only by daily acknowledging our need for Him in prayer and trusting that He truly is who He says He is, can we avoid living like mere “fair weather Christians”. My prayer for you and believers around the world is that you will trust Christ with your whole heart, and keep praying and praising every day, even if He doesn’t take away your burden or rescue you from every trouble.

My relationship with Jesus Christ is the firm foundation of my life. He lightens the load and lifts my spirits as I surrender my cares to Him (Psalm 55:22). He will do that for you, too, if you let Him!

Faith Notes
Even If – by Mercy Me is a powerful song that speaks of praising God in all situations, and being able to say (or sing!) “it is well with my soul” even in the midst of struggles.
(Note: Link will open up in new window.)

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2017 All Rights Reserved (blog content and photos)