Thankful

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him,  and  bless His name. Psalm 100:4

Each day during our prayer time we give thanks and praise to our Lord for the simple blessings of life. We thank the Lord for such blessings as clean water, electricity, a roof over our head, warm clothes, food, etc.

Clean water.  In many places around the world people must walk a mile or so to a stream or river just to get a bucket of water. When they get home, they must boil the water or filter it, and then store it in a safe place. So, we are thankful that we have clean water right in our home.

Electricity, internet, and modern technology. We thank the Lord for electricity that enables us to cook our meals conveniently. In some places, people must gather firewood or tree branches, cut them, and then make a fire to cook. A few years ago, Vicki served in a children’s home in South America. Every day the cook and a couple of volunteers would get up at 4:00 or 5:00 am to get some firewood. They would then place the firewood on three big stones to make a stove, then light the firewood to cook a meal. The previous day some young men had to gather wood and cut them into pieces for firewood. They only had 2 hours of electricity in the morning and evening using a generator. So, we thank the Lord for electricity that helps us cook and keeps our appliances, air conditioner  and heater running. With electricity and the internet, we can work from home and be connected to the world.

Clean air to breathe. In one of the countries we visited in Asia a couple of years ago, they had  very cold winters. During our visit, the temperature ranged from -15 to +25 F degrees! The power company for the city burned really dirty coal to supply electricity and heating to homes and buildings which produced a lot of air pollution. We learned to appreciate and thank the Lord for the clean air we breathe.

The beauty of nature.  Did you ever stop to think that God could have made the world very utilitarian? Instead, he created this world with beauty – beauty that reminds us of our Creator God. Take a few moments today to enjoy a beautiful sunset, a walk in the woods, or a look up into the night sky!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 118:1)

Religious and political freedom. In many parts of the world, Christians risk their lives just to attend a church fellowship. We thank the Lord for the freedom we still have in this country to practice religion and be part of a church.

We are also thankful that the Constitution provides citizens freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, freedom to elect leaders, etc. And we are thankful for those men and women who fought for our country through the years to preserve those rights. In many parts of the world, people do not have political freedom and the opportunity to elect their leaders, something that we often take for granted.

Families and friends. We thank the Lord for the love and care of our extended families and  friends.  We are also thankful for the prayers and support of our ministry partners.

Spiritual heritage.  We are thankful to the Lord for the faithfulness of those who have “gone before” us, for those saints of God who walked faithfully with God through the years and provided us with a godly example and a spiritual heritage. History is full of men and women who lived out their faith, sometimes risking their very lives to preserve our spiritual heritage.  And of course in this Thanksgiving season, we remember the faith of our founding fathers in the United States who prayed earnestly for God’s blessing as this nation was formed.*

Spiritual blessings. We are especially thankful for the love and mercy of God, the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8), the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, the hope of eternal life, a home in heaven, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and other spiritual blessings. (See Ephesians 1:3-6). We are very thankful for the gift of salvation! There are still 3 billion people in the world who need to know the Gospel and the love of God.

The Written Word. We thank the Lord for the availability of the Bible in our language. In Bible history, some sacrificed their very lives to have the Bible translated into our language. Many people are still waiting to hear the Gospel in their native tongue.  Currently, at least 2,000 languages around the world are still waiting for a Bible translation project to start.

Each day, if we pause and look around, we have so much for which to be thankful – not just on Thanksgiving Day! We are grateful also for the gift of life – each day is a gift from God.

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. (II Peter 1:3)

History of First Thanksgiving

“In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith…

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days…”

https://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving

*Mayflower Pilgrims – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayflower

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Only Jesus

Only Jesus can save

Only Jesus can do the impossible

Only Jesus can do what no human can do

Because only Jesus can save

Only Jesus can love the way He does

Only Jesus is the Savior

Only Jesus is the King of Kings

Only Jesus is the Lord of lords

Only Jesus is the Almighty God

Only Jesus is the God of love

Only Jesus is the God who came from above,

Only Jesus is the One who gave His life for us

Only Jesus can save our soul

Only Jesus can satisfy a hungry soul

Only Jesus can fill me up

Only Jesus is the bread of life.

Only Jesus can bring lasting peace

Only Jesus can give true happiness

Only Jesus can give eternal life and bliss,

Only Jesus!

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6 (NKJV)

“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:10-11

http://biblegateway.com

Remembering Jane, A Life well-lived

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment – Hebrews 9:27

We only live once, here is a short devotional story of a woman who had a life well-lived. The Bible says in Psalm 90:10,12- “The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away…So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Scripture Reading: Psalm 92:12-15

“They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing…”  Psalm 92:14 NKJV

I met “Jane” a few years ago at my husband’s church, just before we were married. Jane looked small and fragile, but always had a radiant smile, a sweet disposition, and kind words. She made me feel comfortable and welcome even though I was a total stranger. On holidays and wedding anniversaries, she sent me and my husband greeting cards. When my husband was away on mission trips, Jane would often ask how I was doing. She would often encourage me with these words, “I am praying for you and your husband.” Every Sunday, before the worship service started, she prayed with our pastor and anointed her with oil.

On one occasion, Jane invited me and two other ladies to meet her at church to learn how to make hats using a loom. She was making the hats for cancer patients. She also knitted prayer shawls for others who were ill. Whenever she could, she would send me colorful yarns to make the knitted hats.

During those days, Jane and her husband were both struggling with some significant health issues. At the same time, she was also busy with her own children and grandchildren. Although I only got to know Jane in the last 3 years of her life, she was an inspiration to me and left a profound impression on my life – a wonderful example of faith, love, and prayer. I had clearly seen in her life what it meant to be a true follower of Christ. She faithfully demonstrated the love of Jesus Christ to her family, friends, and to all who met her. Her life has often reminded me of these words from Scripture, “They shall still bear fruit in old age, they shall be fresh and flourishing to declare that the Lord is upright;” (Psalm 92:14-15). I miss Jane’s smiling face, but I know she is now enjoying her heavenly reward with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, as we journey through life, help us through the power of Your Holy Spirit to reflect Your love and faithfulness to others for Your glory and praise.

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Is anyone among you sick?

In situations where you cannot be physically present with the sick person, prayer can be offered on behalf of the person using a handkerchief, a piece of cloth, or a prayer square which has been anointed with oil.  This tangible symbol can then be sent to the sick person much like what the Apostle Paul did when he sent some handkerchiefs or aprons to sick people. (See Acts 19:11-12)

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anointing oil & knitted prayer square

  SCRIPTURAL BASIS FOR ANOINTING 

   THE   SICK WITH OIL AND PRAYING FOR   THEM

Reading: James 5:13-16

 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let  them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the   prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has   committed sins, he will be forgiven.   Confess your trespasses to one another,   and pray for one another, that you may   be healed. The effective, fervent prayer   of  a righteous man avails much.

James 5:14-16 (NKJV)

Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,  so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them – Acts 19:11-12

This blog was posted a while back but with some revision.

(Parallel scriptures:  Mark 6:7-13 & Mark 16:14-18)

  1. There is no “magic” in the anointing oil. We are simply obeying the scriptures when we anoint the sick and pray for them.
  2. “The sick are healed not by the elders’ power, nor by the anointing oil, but by the Lord’s intervention – either through indirect means (medical treatment) or His supernatural healing.”  (Dr. David Jeremiah)
  3. In situations where you cannot be physically present with the sick person, prayer can be offered on behalf of the person using a handkerchief, a piece of cloth, or a prayer square which has been anointed with oil.  This tangible symbol can then be sent to the sick person much like what the Apostle Paul did when he sent some handkerchiefs or aprons to sick people. (See Acts 19:11-12).
  4. All healing is from God – whether through medical treatment & the body’s natural healing processes OR through a miracle from God.
  5. It follows that healing can be accomplished over a period of time OR in an instant if God so chooses.
  6. Faith plays an important role:
  7. “And the prayer of faith will save the sick…” (James 5:15)
  8. Remember to have faith in God for healing, however, not faith in faith!
  9. But we must be careful not to assume, when someone is not healed in the way that we want, that it was because of a lack of faith.
  10. Sometimes, God allows sickness or infirmity for a reason:
  11. To keep one humble and to show God’s power through our weakness:
  12. “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  (II Corinthians 12:7-9)
  13. To discipline a believer:
  14. “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (I Corinthians 5:4-5)
  15. “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.  For if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.”  (I Corinthians 11:27-32)
  16. However, we must be careful not to assume that someone has sin in their lives when they are not healed in the way we wanted.
  17. Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth, and His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in Him.”  (John 9:1-3)
  18. “There were some present at that season who told Him (Jesus) about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?  I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.  Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?  I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’”  (Luke 13:1-5)
  19. To accomplish a greater purpose which will benefit others and glorify God
  20. Joni Eareckson Tada – though God did not heal her, she has inspired millions of people with disabilities
  21. To take believers home to be with Him

In some instances, God chooses to heal someone by taking them to be with Him.  Remember that this world is not our home.  In the words of the old Wayne Watson song, “At the ultimate healing we will be Home Free.”

Notice the role that confession has in healing:

“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”  (James 5:16)

We have all heard that confession is good for the soul, but it is good for the body, too!  We protestants, since we believe in the priesthood of all believers, do not believe that we need to confess our sins to an earthly priest in order to be forgiven.  This is evident from I John 1:9:

“If we confess our sins, He (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

However, there is value in confessing our sins to our spouse, a trusted friend, or a prayer partner – someone we know that we can trust – who will not repeat the matter as gossip.  Such confession is incredibly freeing, ridding our soul of unnecessary guilt and condemnation.  (No guilt trips!)  Confessing our sins to our spouse, a trusted friend, or a prayer partner also helps that person to hold us accountable for our actions.

Effective/Fervent prayer is a powerful force:

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  (James 5:16b NKJV)

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  (James 5:16b NIV)

So, let’s spend some time now praying for each other – especially for those who are in need of the Lord’s healing touch.      By: David Creel

 

 

 

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God loves you!

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God loves you!

John 3:16-17 (NKJV)For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us

Romans 10:9 (NIV)If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the [remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

 Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.

Prayer to receive Jesus in your heart:

Dear God, thank You for your love for me and for sending Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for my sin. I believe that God raised you up from the dead. Please forgive my sins.  I open my heart, may you come in and be the Lord of my life. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

If you pray the prayer above, you are now a child of God and forgiven because of Jesus Christ! What to do next?

  1. Read the Bible every day.
  2. Look for a good Bible believing Christian church.
  3. Pray to Jesus always.

 

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God loves you!

God loves you!

John 3:16-17 (NKJV)For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us

Romans 10:9 (NIV)If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the [remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

 Acts 16:31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.

Prayer to receive Jesus in your heart:

Dear God, thank You for your love for me and for sending Jesus. Thank you, Lord Jesus for dying on the cross for my sin. I believe that God raised you up from the dead. Please forgive my sins.  I open my heart, may you come in and be the Lord of my life. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

If you pray the prayer above, you are now a child of God and forgiven because of Jesus Christ! What to do next?

  1. Read the Bible every day.
  2. Look for a good Bible believing Christian church.
  3. Pray to Jesus always.

 Bible gateway.com

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Jesus does not judge you!

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Photo by Piotr Wilk-Unsplash

Reading: John 3:17-21

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” V.17 (NKJV)

// Romans 8:1, Luke 9:56, John 5:24; John 6:47

The people of Israel for many generations and for thousands of years were powerless to live godly lives in their own strength. God gave them the law through Moses so they could live a blessed life. But time and time again, the people of Israel failed to obey the commandments and the Word of God. God knew that His people were finite beings. Only an almighty and powerful God could save His people. So, Jesus was sent to the world, not to give His people the punishment they deserved, but to offer them mercy and forgiveness.

God the Father sent Jesus Christ to the world not to judge or condemn us, but to save us. God loves the world. God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ – not to punish us for our sins, but to save us and to redeem us from the bondage of sin. Jesus was willing to obey His heavenly Father because He and the Father loved us, the people of the world. They knew there is no way for us to save ourselves from sin.

Reflection:

When Jesus came to save the people of Israel from sin and eternal condemnation, He did it not only for them, but for every one of us in this world. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (v.17). The world includes all the people of the world – every person in every nation. That includes you and me. Jesus came not to judge us, but to save us, because God loves us.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I praise You and thank You for Your love. I thank You that You don’t judge me for my sin, but You have saved me. And because of Your tender mercy, I receive Your eternal life.

MVC/DC 09.13.2019, AL.

Rebirth in Jesus!

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Photo by Irina Murza on Unsplash

Title: Rebirth in Jesus

Reading: The Gospel of John 3:1-15

Key verse: John 3:3

 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly I say to you unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’”.

John, the writer of this Gospel, wrote about Nicodemus who came to Jesus one evening. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who was seeking for the truth. He wanted to know Jesus and the truth of His teachings personally. He wanted to hear and understand for himself as he heard Jesus speak and teach the crowd.  Even though Jesus was rejected by some of the Pharisees, Jesus did not turn down Nicodemus. Jesus knew the heart of Nicodemus, that he was sincerely seeking the Kingdom of God (v.2).

Thus, Jesus revealed to Nicodemus an important spiritual truth. Jesus showed Nicodemus the way to God.

Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit…You must be born again!”   (v.5-7)

Nicodemus wanted to understand more, “How can these things be?

So, Jesus further explained;

No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven… that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (v.13-15)

Jesus gave a clear explanation to Nicodemus of the truth and showed him the way to God, which was to believe in Him, the Son of God. Jesus made Himself known to those who were sincerely seeking and searching for the truth and the kingdom of God.

Jesus was telling Nicodemus about life in the flesh and life in the spirit. Life in the flesh is merely living in the physical realm – with body, mind, and soul. However, there is more to life than just the physical life, there is life in the Spirit, which is only found in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

As Jesus explained to Nicodemus, we people are all born on earth with physical life – the body, mind, and soul (emotions). However, because of the sin nature, we are born on earth with no spiritual life. We are dead in the spirit, which means separated from God.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

But through Jesus Christ we can be born again. Being born-again is to receive a new life in Christ. As Jesus told Nicodemus, “…that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (v.15)

Reflection:

To be born-again is to have a new life in Christ. Believing Jesus is to receive a new life – a life in the Spirit of God, and eternal life in Christ.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for giving me a new life in the Spirit and for bringing me into Your Kingdom.

Your Thoughts:

Your Prayer:

Jesus’ final words!

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Title: Jesus’ final words!

Reading: Matthew 28: 1-20 (NKJV)

“Go, therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)

Jesus died on the cross even though He did not deserve it. (Matthew 27:50). However, on the third day, God raised Him up. (Matthew 28:6). Many of His disciples saw Him and spoke with Him. Just before Jesus went back to heaven, He met with His eleven disciples in Galilee, on the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. (Matthew 28:16) Jesus came and spoke with them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples”. (Matthew 28:18-19)

Jesus obeyed the will of the Lord God for the plan of salvation for all men of all the nations, for it is the will of God for all – every man and woman to be saved.

Mark 16:15 said, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature”.

It is the heart of God that none shall perish.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

God loves everyone and cares for each and every person in the world.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (John 3:16)

The Lord God commissioned and sent His Son Jesus to preach repentance and salvation to the people of Israel. Jesus obeyed and did the will of the Father. Therefore, God exalted Him and gave Him power and authority. (Matthew 28:18).

Jesus then empowered His disciples and followers to go and make disciples as He had done for them.  In the book of Acts, the stories are written where the disciples fulfilled and obeyed the final words of Jesus to go, make disciples, baptize and teach (Acts 2:14-47).  The disciples and followers of Jesus continued the work of preaching the Gospel to others, even it cost their lives (Acts 4 & 7). The disciples of Jesus fulfilled the final words of Jesus to make disciples in their lifetime. And the Gospel spread from Jerusalem, to Judea and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8).

For two thousand years, men and women, followers of Jesus continue to go, preach and make disciples in almost every country and to every people group in the world. From the country of Israel, to Europe, to America, to Africa and Asia, the Gospel and the Kingdom of God have spread. And Jesus promised to everyone who obeys, “And lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. (Matthew 28:20)

Reflection:

The final words of Jesus to His followers before He went back to heaven was:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.”

This is still the words of Jesus to everyone who follows Him and who truly desires to follow Him. It is the heart of Jesus and the Lord God for everyone to receive salvation – for the Jews, and for every people of every nation, and tribe and tongue.  As a follower of Jesus, we are called to obey His Words.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, please help me and every one of Your followers to obey Your final words and commission to go and make disciples of all the nations in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Your Reflection:

Your Prayer:

Jesus You Gave Your All

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Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Jesus You Gave Your All  (Song Poem)

Jesus You gave Your all,

Jesus You gave Your all,

Jesus You gave all of Yourself

To a sinner like me, You gave your all.

Words are not enough to say, thank You my Lord.

How could You love a sinner like me

You gave your whole self to us all.

With Your nail-pierced hands,

And Your body was bruised, wounded and all

All because of Your love for us all.

Jesus Your deep love nothing and no one could ever compare,

For the love You have shown

Jesus You gave Your all (3x)

Body, soul and all;

The greatest love of all.

  • A song-poem by Vicki Creel