Holy Most Holy!

Be strong and courageous; careful to obey
Be anxious in nothing but rather just pray
Love God Almighty with all of your heart
From God’s holy covenant, we must never depart.

Humble ourselves before God’s holy throne
Put away pride and self righteousness known
As we love ourselves, we must love all our neighbors
Be watchful for envy; shun greed without waver.

Tear down our idols, whatever they are
And pray without ceasing with full open hearts
Judge not the heart of a sinner or friend
But in love confront; try to bring an amends.

I fall on my knees as I hear these commands
For a heart that obeys is what You demand
But in all Your laws, I constantly fail
If not for Your grace, I would never prevail.

God says to forgive; like He forgives us
Do not pay back evil; in His vengeance, trust.
Freely give money and serve others more
Care for the widows, the orphans, and poor.

Watch closely the words that come out of our mouths
Profaning God’s name we should never allow.
To fear Holy God with reverence and awe
And in all of our ways, to Him closer draw.

Know that our plans are not greater than God
And we build in vain if its not from above.
Run from adultery; fornication must end
Let thoughts that are lovely and pure always win.

I fall on my knees as I hear these commands
For a heart that obeys is what You demand
But in all Your laws, I constantly fail
If not for Your grace I would never prevail.

There is a way that seems right to a man
But in the end death is what grows from that plan.
Your laws are for safety; for keeping us humble
To know that we’re weak and without You we stumble.

For my righteousness is just like filthy rags
Its only Christ’s blood that covers my stand
So humbly He died to atone for my sin
The great sacrifice …the beginning and end.

Oh thank you my God for Your grace and Your mercy
Please never give up on working within me.
Thank you for sending Your one precious son
Who covered my sin when He said “It is done.”

We praise You and thank You, in awe we bow down
Your ways are mysterious; You mercy, renown
Let us proclaim all Your honor and glory
Sharing with others Your truth and Your story.

All glory to God, let the earth shout Your praise
May Your people stand up and in unison say
Holy, most Holy is Almighty God
Forever You reign in grace and in law. 


Rhonda Shelford Jansen


You Are Set Free


Stacy sat at her kitchen table contemplating the reading from her weekly Bible study.  It was the story in Luke 7: 36 -50 that tells about a sinful woman, most likely a prostitute with addictions, who enters a Pharisee’s home, uninvited, determined to see Jesus.  With myopic focus she walks past a group of men eating then kneels down before Jesus and wash his feet with her tears, then wipes them away with her hair.  Finally she produces an alabaster jar of perfume and anoints his feet with the expensive substance.  The Pharisee was shocked that Jesus would let this woman touch him, much less wash his feet.  However, Jesus treated the woman with grace and said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.  Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  It was this acknowledgement of the woman’s desire to honor him along with the freely given grace and forgiveness that touched Stacy’s heart. 

It had been five years since Stacy had given her heart to the Lord and those years were wonderfully transformative.  Immediately after receiving Christ she’d been given a Bible and wise words that said “in this Bible you will find the blueprint to God’s love and for a life well lived.”  She’d been hungry for answers and began reading the Word daily.  Within its pages she found comfort, wisdom, insight, instructions, and encouragement.  Stacy was in love with the Lord and hungry to please him. 

However, on occasions something would trigger guilt over her less-than-perfect past.  This little niggling of guilt and shame would quickly turn into frequent negative thoughts.   Now, Stacy hadn’t been a prostitute, but she had been an adventurous teen and in her twenties made some big mistakes that weighed heavy on her mind.  And during weak moments, when the past felt more real than today, the guilt she’d been set free from by Christ, would creep back into her thoughts like a slippery snake and slithered its way back into her life.

That’s what the last few weeks had been like for Stacy.  Feelings of unworthiness kept creeping into her contemplations.  Soon these thoughts of worthlessness and guilt turned into depression and the world around her became gray and uninviting.  When she looked into the mirror it wasn’t her reflection she saw, it was failure.  When a friend said something nice, she heard lies.  Eventually, words of discouragement were just about all that existed in her thought-life.  So when she read about Jesus’ compassion and grace for the worldly woman she felt like it was speaking directly to her.  Jesus hadn’t condemned the woman or judged her for being a prostitute like most people in her town.  Instead he acknowledged her faith in him, then forgave her sins and said go in peace. 

Peace, go in Peace.  “Your sins have been forgiven.  Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  These words massaged Stacy’s troubled mind.  How had she forgotten them so quickly?  Why, at times, did the past have such a strong hold on her?  Why had she forgotten the profound truth that God’s love had forgiven her sins and removed them from her?  Psalms 103:12 says “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” She recited this verse out loud along with 2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  For the first time in days a prayer freely crossed her lips, “Lord, thank you for setting me free from my sins.  Thank you that I’m a new creation in you.  Thank you for knowing my heart, I love you Lord.” 

Stacy got up from the table and started pacing around her kitchen while claiming out loud all the things God had set her free from.  In claiming them audibly she found courage and strength.  And in her humble gratitude for God’s grace she found victory over the negative power of the guilt and shame from her past.  She was a new creation in Christ.

Debora Shelford Hobbs