Mary Cantell

Under his grace

Jesus, who came down from heaven to become flesh on earth, knows full well the temptations of man. Aware of our foibles and the pitfalls that so easily befall us, he can sympathize with our struggles.

The Word says that we don’t have to be afraid to ask or approach God’s throne. As believers, we don’t have to wonder whether we are deserving of his attention because we belong to Him. We are to come to the Lord as our Dad as often as necessary to receive the grace to win the victory. The Word says with boldness we are to come. That’s not arrogance but confidence.

While here, Jesus fought the snares of the devil at least three times in the book of Matthew, and when we fight with the devil, there’s nothing more powerful than speaking out loud the Word of God. To that, he is powerless.

Grace is a blend of God’s mercy—not receiving what we deserve—along with His love—receiving what we don’t deserve—together. His grace is abundant, refreshing, and all that we need to live a victorious life here on earth.

Let it shine…

God is the light of our salvation…the Father of Lights. As the Lord’s people, we are blessed to have the spirit of the living God—his light—dwelling in us. It’s an awesome gift and truly unfathomable that the creator of the universe wishes to tabernacle among his believers.

“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men” ~ John 1:4.

The Word tells us that we are to be both salt and light. What a privilege to be used to flavor and light the world with the essence of Christ shining through us. Lights are meant to dispel the darkness, and the purpose of God’s light is to reveal the truth. As Christians, it’s our responsibility to share what we’ve received from the Lord and not bury it. Our light should be like a beacon…to draw people to see the light of Jesus and to be drawn to him by our good works.

Anyone who has the faith in the power of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection can receive the light of Jesus. We need to spotlight this to the world. God, the Father, has prepared the way of salvation to come through His son. He’s chosen us through Christ to receive new life. This is the gospel that needs to shine.

A new song…

Oh, sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth ~ Psalm 96.1

In Exodus, Moses and the people sang a new song as they were delivered from Egypt. They acknowledged God for His mighty deeds and praised him through song for their deliverance from slavedom.

Equally, when the Israelites were freed from their bondage in Assyria and later, Babylon, they praised God in song. The book of Psalms is full of examples of the people singing to the Lord a new song.

‘I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD’ ~ Psalm 40:1-3.

We, like David, were once like this; our feet stuck in mire, our eyes sought that which would destroy, and our hearts were enslaved by the lusts of this world. However, through Jesus, we have a new song to sing. And it’s all about Him. As Apostle Paul said in Christ, we are new creatures…the old things have passed away and, behold, all things have become new.

Through His eyes

He’s made everything beautiful in His time
~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

The old time crooners got it right. In their song lyrics: “Everything is beautiful” and “It’s a wonderful world,” God truly made our world a beautiful place. We often view our surroundings through a biased eye and don’t really stop to inspect the beauty of God’s creation–nor the way he sees it.

To even glimpse what our Lord has made here on earth, one cannot deny the divine intelligence involved. To watch a bumblebee pollinate a flower, or a bird forage for a worm, or an ant colony preparing its food, there’s an order, a divine order in everything, and all for God’s purposes.

God created everything under the sun and made it beautiful in its season. He’s ordered the stars in the sky and the moon and planets to orbit upon his will. His creation exists as he saw fit to make it, and we who are in it have one purpose: to glorify Him and love our neighbor as ourselves.

Whether in adversity or prosperity, one way or the other, all things of God truly work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose ~ Romans 8:28.

One day, we’ll look back and see the tapestry the Lord has created in each of our lives. Like Joseph’s coat of many colors, his divine providence will reveal the picture that was there all the while, if only we had the perspective to fully understand and appreciate all that is Jesus.

Exalting the Name above Names

How does a believer magnify the Lord when he is already so large enough to be infinite? The psalmist, David, no doubt was expressing his humility in Psalm 34 in light of his feeble decision to feign insanity in the face of dealing with the treacherous King Achish. His choice may not have been ideal, yet he didn’t deny that it was the Lord who delivered him from his enemy.

In this verse, David entreats all of the people in his day to exalt with him. Being that David wore his humility outwardly, he must have realized that to magnify the Lord to any substantial degree would necessitate everyone’s praises and exultations together as he felt himself too lowly.

It’s only the humble of heart who desire to magnify the Lord, and there are a variety of ways we can lift up His name: Singing hymns, praying, praising, thanking, teaching, preaching His word, and witnessing of his greatness wherever we go.

If only the unbelieving and prideful would step down from their lofty pedestals to make room for Jesus, our world would be an entirely different place, and the humble believers would be the first to join with them in making the Lord’s name great in all the earth.

Keep the faith and the focus

Where is your mind focused these days? Are you suffering under the trials and tribulations in your life, or do you cast your cares on Him? Do you search for solace in food, drink, or some kind of distraction to assuage the unrest, or do you feast on His word?

Panaceas offering relief from cares and burdens are the first place the world turn from the pain of living. For the children of God, the ones Christ calls his brethren, our solace is met at the cross.

“…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” ~ 2 Cor. 10:5.

The world is a battlefield for control of our mind. The combat skirmishes will always be there until we’re promoted to heaven, but there is assurance that in Him, our battles are already won. Our deliverance is met in Jesus.

When struggles and trials seem bound to grab your soul and squeeze out your joy, rejoice in the Lord and count it all joy as the book of James states. Why? You have the Lord! Your trials and temptations are nothing for Him and are the chisel which conforms you to be more like Jesus. Let Him do a good work in you by faithfully keeping your mind on Him.

God’s greatest nation

“If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land…” 2 Chronicles 7:14

We know God has always had a special relationship with the nation of Israel. When King Solomon dedicated the temple and prayed to the Lord, in turn, the Lord responded to say that if the people kept his commandments, they would receive prosperity; if not, they would not be blessed but would receive the punishment of hardship and banishment from the land.

The New Covenant we have through Jesus is not about a nation but more a promise to God’s faithful children—the church. Our promise is not necessarily the prosperity of wealth, although it could be, but more so the fulfillment of being prospered spiritually through the Holy Spirit. The temple now resides in us, the believers.

Being humble and hungry for the Lord’s will to be done doesn’t start through our strength; it starts with seeking the Lord’s face, so that we can become instruments to further his plans and purposes here on earth.

As America celebrates Independence Day this week, we are reminded of the blessings we’ve been given and give thanks to the many who fought to allow this nation to stand. Though we are a great nation of freedom and liberty, remember, we are only truly free in Jesus!

A Quilting of Love

The heavens declare the glory of God
and the sky above proclaims His handiwork
~ Psalm 19:1

He weaves a new dawn in the stillness of morning,
and taps the sun to melt the night’s shadows.
He uncovers the buds sewn finer than silver,
sprouting new life in splashes of dew.
His presence shines in a sparrow’s song,
a trickling riverbed,
the hush of a mountain top,
while the rocks and hills proclaim His name.
Each moment, His glory enrobes the landscape,
a tapestry bountiful as grains of sand.

A Father’s Love

June is the month we celebrate our dear fathers. At least, that’s what Hallmark tells us.

It’s not easy to be a father. It’s an awesome task. Being a father is more than just being a daddy or having children. A father’s job is so much more.

It’s a tremendous undertaking to rear a child in the way to go. The task can be daunting, especially when a man does it in his own strength, or the way his own dad did it. Taking cues from your father may not be the best route. Many times, a father will fail.

There is no official instruction guide for fatherhood, no protocol to follow for each child has different needs to be met. Though the instruction book for life—the Bible—has everything one needs to accomplish any job. And what better example to follow than that of our heavenly Father who, by his grace, has given us more than we deserve. That is, not to spoil us, but to show us the riches of His glory.

If your own father was absent or less than fatherly, remember that you have another father, one whom you may not see–absent, again? No, no! He is very present, even more than if he were standing beside you. For he made you. Your hairs are numbered, and he sent his son to die for you. The love of this father–our Lord–is incomparable to any other.

That is why we should celebrate Father’s day every day. For our heavenly father deserves our continual worship. And for our earthly fathers, we are grateful for all you’ve done for us and hope that all fathers will seek their Father in heaven for the strength, wisdom, and courage to fulfill their earthly role.

Living water…

Ninety-nine degrees in the scorching summer heat and you’re desperately craving relief for your parched throat. Unlike hunger, which can be tamed for a while, dehydration is a different matter…in another league. It can be deadly.

King David longed for the Lord in this way, as though his very soul would die without the quenching of his thirst for the fellowship of the Lord—the living water. He sought for it both night and day, at times, and he was rewarded, for his parched soul was always refreshed through the Lord.

It would seem the whole world is searching to quench their souls. They seek to fill themselves with the water of the world—idols, pleasures, and other worldliness—yet they remain thirsty. The Lord says to drink from His fountain as His blessings are everlasting and sustaining.

“But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life” ~ John 4:14.

He who knows Jesus in the most intimate of ways now holds the living water of the Holy Spirit. May it spill up, out, and overflow as a gushing spring. May it be a blessing to all in witness of the greatness of the Lord in you!