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What is this darkness that descended?
I barely discern its grasp
so wrapped in hypocrisy and self-righteousness
dark forces slither in unnoticed

my heart was glad
my sorrow banished
my thoughts on the future
my life re-engaged

I saw You, a blur on the side of the road
a speed limit sign I was going too fast to register

I ignored the initial pricks of Your correction
and later the thud of Your body thrown under my tires
to slow me down

You sent counselors
they spoke truth
but I could not hear
I would not hear
I refused to heed

Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft
Rebellion a power so great it blinds
my rebellion, cloaked in justification
and false purity blinded me to Your truth

the corrective measures,
designed to redirect me
provided only my temporary awareness of being off the path
the rough terrain, the lack of smooth pavement
only provided a twinge of consciousness of my sin
as my focus sharpened on the sin of others,
of my adversary and of my friend,
the log blinded me to my own wickedness

But in Your mercy
You persisted

 

 

Your promises were uttered
You would not relent
You would keep me
You would hedge me in
you would deliver me
from my strong enemy
the enemy within

You know my frame
You know my ways
You know the plans
You know my future
so you woke me from the dullness
You re-sensitized my conscience

My eyes flew opened
I saw the great precipice on which I tottered
the great fall I was about to make
I was suddenly aware of the danger
I was confronted with the evil
I had been nursing and enjoying in my heart
all the trappings and disguises peeled away
the black darkness of my sin
threatening to pull me in became clear

I had almost stumbled
I had almost caused another to stumble
O God!

My heart is crushed by my betrayal of You
You coax me back from the edge
My tears flood my shoes
I grieve but You are close
You never let go
I step behind the protective fence of Your law
safe once again

Teach me anew, O God
Keep me from evil,
from enemies, within and without
Protect me
Forgive my trespasses
Be my God
I need You
Every hour I need You

Copyright 2017 MaryBeth

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If you  missed our first post on the book of Exodus, check out Exodus – An Introduction.

Read Exodus 7, Exodus 8, 9 and 10
1. What is the first sign Moses and Aaron do before Pharaoh? What happens?

2. Copy Exodus 7:13 here.

3. The first plague God visits on Egypt is described in Exodus 7:17-19. Provide the following information about it: a description of the Plague, Could the magicians copy it? Did it affect all the inhabitants or just the Egyptians, and what was Pharaoh’s response?

For the remaining plagues, provide the following information the same information.

4. Review your information about the plagues. What do you observe? About Moses? About God? About Pharaoh?

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Love

When I was young, I learned of love
I knew it as a feeling, an overwhelming rush
a flush, a warmth that spread over me
until it ebbed
it always ebbed

When I was older, I learned of love
I knew it as a decision
I knew it as a choice
a rugged mountain to be climbed
a rough sea to be navigated
a treacherous road covered in black ice
until it left
until he left
then love was just an empty hole
then love just hurt

when I had loved and lost
when all I had I poured out to the last
when my efforts came to nought
when I was empty and alone
my heart pulled out
left to wither
as I withered
as I let go of my dead love
as I learned to leave my dead love

I learned of another love
the Lover of my soul
He’d made it possible for me to love
gave me feelings of love
taught me to choose love
girded me to climb the mountain
emboldened me to navigate the sea
held me to the treacherous road
loved me

and in the loving
I saw
love is not merely a feeling
to be loved is to feel secure,
to be loved is to feel beautiful
to be loved is to feel love in return

and in the loving
I saw
love is not merely a choice
to love is to never quit
to love is to never leave
to love is to always hope
to love is to sacrifice
unto death
my death
my beloved’s

but the death of my beloved’s love
was the doorway to a greater love
The Lover of my Soul stood
beckoning me
speaking words of love to me

as I responded
as I walked across the threshold
I fell into the ocean
His feelings for me
His choices for me

His love is as He is
unending
unselfish
unfailing
unfathomable
under me like wings
His love lifted me
out of my puddle of tears
to the heights of His glory

I and He forever
My Savior
My King
My Friend
My Lord
My love

I shall
as He did
give my life
to prove my love

 

Copyright 2016 Mary Beth Mullin

 

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O, sweet Jesus, baby boy
Your gentle hand will guide
Generations to the promised land
Sinners justified

By Your birth you testified
The Father’s faithfulness
By Your death upon the cross
You taught obedience

O, sweet Jesus, meek and mild
In rugged manger born
You chose the humblest entry point
not even one was scorned

Shepherds, the most lowly
You revealed Your birth to them
Wise men from afar off
Believed and worshiped then

Twas not to high and lofty ones
With knowledge, power, prestige
But to the humble, foreign men
From waiting a reprieve.

From Bethlehem to Golgatha
Wasn’t far to walk
But every step the Father’s will
You would never balk

O, sweet Jesus, born to die
So sweet your baby hands
But later they would pierce them thru And kill the precious lamb

I know the end
All is not lost
Like Jonah and the fish
Three days passed, You rose again
having paid the cost

O, sweet Jesus, hear my prayer
You died for me I know
But now I want to live for You
And make my heart Your throne

O, sweet Jesus, Lord of all
King o’er every King
Come quickly for your church to take
Your praises we will sing

But ‘til you come I pray to be
A light upon a hill
your name I want to lift up high
Bring glory, do your will

Copyright  MaryBethMullin

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As we celebrate Christmas, we are celebrating the coming of Jesus. But Jesus, the child born in the manger, the man nailed to a cross and risen from the dead, already came. So whose coming are we anticipating?

What do the following scriptures tell us about the story of Jesus yet to come?
Colossians 3:4

2 Timothy 4:1

Revelation 5:5

Revelation 21:3-7

Revelation 22:12

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Baby Jesus, small and soft
born that star-filled night
for ages prophets had foretold
Light to pierce the night

Your heavenly home You left behind
put eternal things aside
to enter human time and space
a temporary home.

why would You,
Almighty King
Lord of all the Lords
come down to earth to be with us
so far below Your throne

the cross it is the centerpiece
instrument of pain
see where blood was flowing down
the lamb on it was slain

O Jesus, help me see the truth
Your life was not in vain
Your coming was to meet my need
Yours a blood sacrifice

the living, it was needful
without blemish You were found
yet dying was the pinnacle
my sin stain it removed

in dying You gave your life for me
propitiatory substitute
in rising You opened eternity
rendered the accuser mute

a baby born to humble means
lain in a manger bare
is only part the story told
look further if you dare

the only true and living God
the one they call “I AM”
He kept His promise in the child
He sent His Son, the Lamb

Copyright MaryBethMullin

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It was love, mere love; it was free love that brought the Lord Jesus Christ into our world. What, shall we not remember the birth of our Jesus? Shall we yearly celebrate the birth of our temporal king, and shall that of the King of Kings be quite forgotten? Shall that only, which ought to be had chiefly in remembrance, be quite forgotten? God forbid!

No, my dear brethren, let us celebrate and keep this festival of our church with joy in our hearts: let the birth of a Redeemer, which redeemed us from sin, from wrath, from death, from hell, be always remembered; may this Savior’s love never be forgotten! But may we sing forth all his love and glory as long as life shall last here, and through an endless eternity in the world above! May we chant forth the wonders of redeeming love and the riches of free grace, amidst angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, without intermission, forever and ever!

And as, my brethren, the time for keeping this festival is approaching, let us consider our duty in the true observation thereof, of the right way for the glory of God, and the good of immortal souls, to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; an event which ought to be had in eternal remembrance.

George Whitefield, Selected Sermons of George Whitefield

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