Open the Grace {Day Twenty-Two} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

Psalm 118:15-29

15 Shouts of joy and victory

resound in the tents of the righteous:

“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!

16 The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;

the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”

17 I will not die but live,

and will proclaim what the Lord has done.

18 The Lord has chastened me severely,

but he has not given me over to death.

19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;

I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.

20 This is the gate of the Lord

through which the righteous may enter.

21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;

you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone;

23 the Lord has done this,

and it is marvelous in our eyes.

24 The Lord has done it this very day;

let us rejoice today and be glad.

25 Lord, save us!

Lord, grant us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

From the house of the Lord we bless you.

27 The Lord is God,

and he has made his light shine on us.

With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession

up to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will praise you;

you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for

he is good; his love endures forever.

Though this was likely David’s psalm, it was also Jesus’ psalm. “This is pre-eminently the triumph song of the Christ, He the ideal Servant, He the perfect Priest, He the Leader of the people. How much all these words meant to Him as He sang them on that night in the upper room.” (G. Campbell Morgan)https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-118/

Today’s Gift of Grace is Crowned With Confidence

Open the Grace {Day Twenty-Two} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

Father, You’re always covering

The Way You Crown Me With Confidence

I step out of the door

Into the landscape

With sword in hand

I face the days with fire & grace

Champion—Bethel Music

Open the Grace {Day Twenty-One} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

Here we are, sisters.

Back on our knees again.

Coming to the Lord with a grateful heart.

Thanking Him for all He’s done.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 118: 1 ESV

Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?

The Lord is on my side as my helper;

I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

All nations surrounded me; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the Lord I cut them off! They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!

I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.”

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

Psalm 118: 14 ESV

Today’s Gift of Grace is His Unfailing Love

Open the Grace {Day Twenty-One} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

This is where we want to be.

Me & You. You & me.

Thank You, Lord, for Your never ending love.

Open the Grace {Day Twenty} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

“This is the shortest song in the whole collection, but there is none greater or grander in its expression of praise.” (G. Campbell Morgan) “Martin Luther devoted thirty-six pages to this psalm, expounding it in four important categories: (1) prophecy (the Gentiles will participate in gospel blessings), (2) revelation (the kingdom of Christ is not earthly and temporal but rather heavenly and eternal), (3) instruction (we are saved by faith alone and not by works, wisdom, or holiness), and (4) admonition (we should praise God for such a great salvation).” (James Montgomery Boice)https://
enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-117/

Father, we lift up every tribe, tongue, & nation.

May our hearts be knit together for Your glory & purpose.

How great is Your Love toward us.

Faithful in all Your ways.

Oh that our lives would reflect Your nature in the earth.

Amen.

For there is neither Jew nor Greek; slave nor free; male nor female; for all of us are one in Christ.

Galatians 3:28

We’re at the halfway point of our Lenten journey…

A good time to take pause & consider what the Father might be speaking to our hearts.

Today’s Gift of Grace is 10 Questions to Consider…

Open the Grace {Day Twenty} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

{1} What Gifts of Grace do I see in my everyday rhythms?

{2} Do I practice praise through every circumstance?

{3} Does familiarity keep me from seeing areas where I might need change?

{4} Am I willing to do the deep work—practicing presence over perfection?

{5} Where am I spending my time, energy, & finances?

{6} Is making space for rest a priority or even a possibility?

{7} How do I practice gratitude?

{8} In what ways can I experience receiving His strength in my weakness?

{9} What am I willing to give up in order to live a fully surrendered life?

{10} Is prayer the place I go for peace?

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

Romans 8:26

Open the Grace {Day Nineteen} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

Today’s Gift of Grace is A Declaration of Deliverance

Open the Grace {Day Nineteen} 40 Gifts for 40 Days
Psalm 116

I love the LORD, because He has heard

My voice and my supplications.

Because He has inclined His ear to me,

Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.

V 1-2

I love you, Lord.

A song of simple expression.

In a desperate season

& as long as I shall live.

 “They say that love is blind; but when we love God our affection has its eyes open and can sustain itself with the most rigid logic. We have reason, superabundant reason, for loving the Lord.” (Spurgeon)

The pains of death surrounded me,

And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me;

I found trouble and sorrow.

Then I called upon the name of the LORD:

“O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!”

V 3-4

A foretelling— A Declaration of Deliverance, Death, & Resurrection

“Oh LORD,

I implore you,

deliver my soul!”

Our cries of desperation,

He hears every one.

“This form of petition is short, comprehensive, to the point, humble, and earnest. It were well if all our prayers were moulded upon this model; perhaps they would be if we were in similar circumstances to those of the Psalmist, for real trouble produces real prayer.” (Spurgeon)

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;

Yes, our God is merciful.

The LORD preserves the simple;

I was brought low, and He saved me.

Return to your rest, O my soul,

For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

V 5-7

In utter delight & desperation the psalmist gives praise.

You’re gracious

You’re righteous

You’re merciful

This place where our souls find true rest,

is where we can return to over & over again.

“Whenever a child of God even for a moment loses his peace of mind, he should be concerned to find it again, not by seeking it in the world or in his own experience, but in the Lord alone.” (Spurgeon)

For You have delivered my soul from death,

My eyes from tears,

And my feet from falling.

I will walk before the LORD

In the land of the living.

I believed, therefore I spoke,

“I am greatly afflicted.”

I said in my haste,

“All men are liars.”

V 8-11

A powerful expression of praise,

a reflection of the greatness of the deliverance…

In the depths of distress,

still I will praise you!

“ I believed, therefore I spoke…”

A prophetic declaration over what looks like death.

A confident stance in the face of adversity.

 “By a man’s walk is understood his way of life: some men live only as in the sight of their fellow men, having regard to human judgment and opinion; but the truly gracious man considers the presence of God, and acts under the influence of his all-observing eye.” (Spurgeon)

What shall I render to the LORD

For all His benefits toward me?

I will take up the cup of salvation,

And call upon the name of the LORD.

I will pay my vows to the LORD

Now in the presence of all His people.

V 12-14

The psalmist chose the way of gratitude.

Taking in, calling out

A constant interplaying of thanksgiving & response.

“We can do this figuratively at the sacramental table, we can do it spiritually every time we grasp the golden chalice of the covenant, realizing the fulness of blessing which it contains, and by faith receiving its divine contents into our inmost soul.” (Spurgeon)

Precious in the sight of the LORD

Is the death of His saints.

O LORD, truly I am Your servant;

I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant;

You have loosed my bonds.

I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,

And will call upon the name of the LORD.

I will pay my vows to the LORD

Now in the presence of all His people,

In the courts of the LORD’s house,

In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.

Praise the LORD!

V 15-19

Each verse a reminder of the words Jesus & his disciples sang as they rose from the table and walked toward the beautiful-terrible Way. (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26)

Powerful & Prophetic

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Once & For All

Though death is a curse and an enemy, it is still precious because it removes the remaining barriers between God and His saints, and is the doorway to an eternity of perfect fellowship. “Death to the saints is not a penalty, it is not destruction, it is not even a loss.” (Spurgeon)
God I Look to You, Jenn Johnson

Today we make a Declaration of Deliverance over every dead situation…

We find rest in knowing that salvation is the final word!

Oh God, let this be our prayer.

Open the Grace {Day Eighteen} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

Continuing in prayer, today we look at Psalm 115. Traditionally, Psalms 113-114 would have been sung before the Passover meal, and Psalms 115-118 were sung afterwards.

These are the Psalms scholars believe Jesus and His disciples sang after The Last Supper:

“And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭26:30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

///

“Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.

But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands.

They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see.

They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell.

They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats.

Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.

All you Israelites, trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield. House of Aaron, trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield.

You who fear him, trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield.

The Lord remembers us and will bless us: He will bless his people Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron, he will bless those who fear the Lord— small and great alike.

May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children.

May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind. It is not the dead who praise the Lord, those who go down to the place of silence; it is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore.

Praise the Lord.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭115:1-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Today’s Gift of Grace is Trust in the Lord.

Open the Grace {Day Eighteen} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

There’s a blessing that comes when we trust in the Lord alone.

No other name.

Jesus.

Today we choose to take every stress and pressure, every situation and circumstance…

Lay it down at the altar in prayer.

Come and see what the Lord will do

When we open the gift of trust

& press in with prayer.

Open the Grace {Day Seventeen} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

This week we focus on the third Pillar of Lent—Prayer.

This second Psalm of the Jewish Hallel is entitled A Song for Passover (TPT)—it’s one Jesus would have spoken at the time of Passover during Holy Week.

With this Psalm, God’s people gave thanks for His saving grace when the children of Israel were set free from bondage.

Today, as we pray together, let’s give thanks for all His saving grace—we receive it today.

“Many years ago the Jewish people escaped Egypt’s tyranny, so that Israel, God’s people of praise, would become his holy sanctuary, his kingdom on the earth.

The Red Sea waters saw them coming and ran the other way! Then later, the Jordan River too moved aside so that they could all pass through.

The land shuddered with fear. Mountains and hills shook with dread.

O sea, what happened to you to make you flee? O Jordan, what was it that made you turn and run?

O mountains, what frightened you so? And you hills, what made you shiver?

Tremble, O earth, for you are in the presence of the Lord, the presence of the God of Jacob.

He splits open boulders and brings up bubbling water. Gushing streams burst forth when he is near!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭114:1-8‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Today’s Gift of Grace is Salvation

Open the Grace {Day Seventeen} 40 Gifts for 40 Days
Sinking Deep // Kalley Heiligenthal

Open the Grace {Day Sixteen} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

Grace

“I wanted to take a picture that would show people that even though they had to do without many things because of the war they still had much to be thankful for.”

Eric Enstrom

For most of my life this print has been hanging in my mother’s dining room. I believe the story is that it was a wedding gift from my grandparents.

It’s like an old friend to me. I can honestly say that through the years I have felt comforted with it’s familiarity, the simplicity of it, how it’s always been there.

I’ve hinted several times to my mama that when she’s ready to pass it down that I’ll be eagerly awaiting. She’s assured me on multiple occasions that it’ll be hanging on her wall for as long as she lives.

Fair enough…

So you can imagine the delight I experienced when I came across it at the Goodwill a few days ago! The timing impeccable, because as we inch our way into the the fourth week of our Lenten journey we’re focusing on the third Pillar of Lent— Prayer.

& This print titled “Grace” has been a pillar of sorts over the course of my life, reminding me of the power of simple prayer.

Prayer has long been a love language between me & my Father, a way of life. For as far back as I can remember something deep within knew that He & I could have simple conversation everyday—all throughout.

He walks with me

and He talks with me

and He tells me I am His own

Prayer is the life thread that continues to weave through my story, forming who I am.

—the way through.

Today’s Gift of Grace is Prayer

Open the Grace {Day 16} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

Each week we’re gaining momentum…

Breathing in His Life

Staying the course

Receiving Strength

Finding Rest

Seeing Goodness

Practicing Presence

Giving our all

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”

Philippians 3:14 The Message

We hope in the coming days you’ll find meaningful ways of experiencing His Grace. As we continue to move toward Easter may our hearts grow eager with anticipation, unearthing all that this season has to offer.

… a little history on “Grace”…

A special gift from us to you…

Open the Grace {Day Fifteen} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭130:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When we begin to praise,

every part of our journey becomes light—

& the places marked “indefinite”

the trials with no time frame

the trauma with a length marked “undefined”—

these things can’t keep you out of His presence.

There is nothing strong enough to keep you away,

He will move Heaven & earth to get to you—

To bring you to this place.

Here. In the room where healing happens.

Today’s Gift of Grace is a Whole Heart.

Open the Grace {Day Fifteen} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭73:26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We want to sit at the back of the room—under the radar.

Lord, let me be invisible,

Unnoticed,

No labels,

No judgment.

But He calls us out. Gives us the courage to stay when we’re looking at the door…

Here in the room where healing happens.

Where off the path is the current journey. Showing up faithful is staying the course.

Here we are—wholehearted.

This is where we realize our heart is whole again.

When we rise up and go to the altar, we find that broken fragment we’ve been walking around with is whole again.

Still living. Still breathing inside us. Still beating to the rhythm of our praise.

So this is where we live now.

Here on the altar.

Giving everything in our world.

Laying down our loved ones, our heartaches, every dream and desire, here at the altar.

Because this is the place we’re made whole.

Lord, we lift up our sisters today, and we come to the altar before You. Thank You, God, that You are so trustworthy. You are so faithful. You are able to take every broken place we have, give us the courage to bring it to You, and You are making our hearts whole again. Thank You for Your presence. We worship You, we love You, we trust You.

On the Altar // UPPERROOM

Open the Grace {Day Fourteen} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

Where shall I go from your Spirit?

Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I take the wings of the morning

and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead me,

and your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,

and the light about me be night,”

even the darkness is not dark to you;

the night is bright as the day,

for darkness is as light with you.

Psalm 139:7-12

And now that we know it

This Beautiful Truth

Everywhere we go

He’s already there

& We can’t outrun His presence

Todays Gift of Grace is Worship

Open the Grace {Day 14} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:13-16

All of our intricacies

Every detail of our formation

Made to Worship

Oh the shape we’d be in if we had to earn the right…

As we continue on our Lenten journey we are pressed to go beyond the surface activities of ordinary living and get face to face with the One Who Made Us, Who Sees Us, Who Knows Us…

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Worship is our response to the presence of God.

His presence in creation awakens our senses.

His presence in our hearts beckons us to adore.

His presence in our minds commands our attention.

His presence in our souls call us to quiet meditation.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 150:6

Open the Grace {Day Thirteen} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

John 17:24

From Day One it’s His presence that’s made everything complete.

Thistle Farms — Nashville, Tennessee

Most of us have experienced walking into a room full of people and felt very alone.

Even worse than that we’ve spent whole lifetimes in rooms where we’ve never felt truly seen.

To be there—but not really

There.

Today’s Gift is The Presence of God

Open the Grace {Day 13} 40 Gifts for 40 Days

He’s already there.

We just have to learn how to notice.

To be awakened to His Presence.

To be with Him.

To be.

With Him.

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

John 12:3

Last night during our Sisters in Sobriety Bible study we read how Mary chose to do this very thing.

She knew who was in that room

& she knew Who was in that room…

& nothing could keep her away!

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5

God’s presence isn’t something we can create by any of our own doing.

No need to conjure.

No need to fabricate.

Nothing to work for.

Or earn.

He is Always With Us

& this With-Us-ness is the path our souls long for.

Us with Him.

Him with us.

When we choose to give up on our needing to be seen by men

& see Him-Who’s been there all along,

THE ONLY ONE WORTHY OF ATTENTION,

we set our hearts on the Path of His Presence

& nothing else matters.



When You Walk Into The Room — Bryan & Katie Torwalt

This week let’s give the gift of presence & fill the rooms we enter with authentic worship.