I do believe we have a new day upon us all and there are 24 more days left until Christmas – the day when we as Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior who provided salvation from our sins and gives to us the hope of eternal life. For some in the western world, Christmas is a celebration without Christ – nothing more than a winter celebration and a time to feast, party, give gifts and be with family and friends. The countdown and highlight of the winter holiday is the arrival of Santa Claus. This Santa Claus aka Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas and or just Santa is a jolly figure of legend, myth, history and folkloric origins. It is told that he leaves his home at the North Pole once a year with a large number of magical elves and brings gifts to the homes of ”good” children during the late hours of Christmas Eve and the very early morning hours of Christmas while they are sleeping. He travels in an air-born sleigh pulled by a team of reindeer, one of which has a very shiny, red nose known as Rudolph. Children are taught from a very young age to “believe” in Santa and to many, he is their hero because he hopefully brings them what they want. As children grow up, they discover that this Santa they have been told to believe in is actually just their parents who place gifts under the Christmas tree for their children while they sleep. There really was a Saint Nicholas who lived at one time. He was a 4th Century Greek Christian Bishop who became famous because of his generous gifts to the poor, which stemmed from his faithfulness to and belief in Christ, his hero. He did not distribute gifts to the poor by a sleigh with reindeer and he made his home in the area of Turkey, not the North Pole. As I read in our Father’s Word today, I reflect upon this whole concept of “believing” and I greatly admire the faith that Mary, the mother of Jesus had. It says that after she was told of our Father’s plan for her, her cousin Elizabeth acknowledged that Mary was blessed because she believed that what the Lord had said to her would be accomplished. Now she was a woman I admire! Her concept of belief, I can get excited about! Our Father is a God of His Word and when He makes a promise, He keeps it! History has proven this over and over again. He promised from the very first book of the Bible that Jesus was coming on a starlit night to deliver a Savior to the sinful children throughout the world that whoever “believes” in Him shall not perish, but have the gift of everlasting life! History proves that God provided. He came through with His promise! Yaahoo! What a gift that is because none of the children of the world could ever live “good” enough to receive this greatest gift of all on their own. Jesus is my hero! With this in mind, as I am out and about this Christmas season and see signs that read “Believe,” I will remember that Jesus is Truth and what He says can truly be believed. That just brings this gal so much peace and puts one great big jolly grin upon my face and no, I do not have a beard nor a great big belly (lol)! Much love to you all!
It is a wonderful Wednesday and a new day full of opportunities, including the opportunity to do life with ourselves. Spending the day with ourselves can be a good day or it can be an awful day, depending on what we choose to believe about ourselves. My Father reminds me this morning that He loves us unconditionally and with unfailing love. While He gives us His Word to lead us and guide us for our best and it is good to seek His best for our lives, He is a Father of forgiveness, compassion, mercy and grace when we fail to live up to carrying out His best for us. Our Father says that even on a day when we feel we are performing pretty good, He says we still fall short in living up to His Holy Standard. He saw the impossible, in that we would never be able to achieve perfection and therefore, He sent Jesus as our Savior. Through Him, we wear a robe of righteousness, we are holy, blameless and without accusation. So if He sees us each this way, why is it that we can often be self-haters, continually beating ourselves up because we fail in our own minds? As I ponder this before my Father this morning, He has revealed to me that it can be because we put ourselves in God’s place of judgement. We can be hard on ourselves when we feel we have hurt God, others and even ourselves and we believe that we deserve condemnation. Everybody is in the same boat. We all fall short of perfection. This is why forgiveness is so important.- forgiving each other as God forgives us and forgiving ourselves, knowing everyone struggles with their own failures. We can put our opinion and often the opinion of the enemy (the devil) over God’s and that is unhealthy for us. Self-hating is a lack of faith, not believing God when He tells us we are forgiven and accepted just as we are, without performance. He tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made. When we are self-haters, we need to look at the flip side of the coin and look at the ways we are a blessing. We have been made in the image of our Father and He dwells in us and enables us to make a great difference in the lives of others. I chuckle to myself as I now visualize someone with this new mindset slicking back their hair, dressing themselves up, standing straight and tall and putting on their best smile all ready to step out into the day called life. They are thinking “I’m a gift and I’m gonna share myself with the world so the world doesn’t miss out!” Woohoo! This cowgirl says “Go, girlfriend!” “Go for it brother!” Go bless the world with the special person of YOU! Believe in God in you as you do! Well, going to do the same, so to-da-loo!
Ex 20:3; Ps 139:13-14; Ro 3:23; 1 Pe 5:8-9; Col 1:21-23, 3:13; Pr 11:25; Php 4:6-8; Jn 3:16
Good day to you! It is a new adventure today with our Father and just the fact that we are able to share this time together is a downright miracle! How amazing is that? Each one of us as we sit studying these thoughts are actually multi-tasking, in that we are at the same time experiencing many miracles taking place not only in our bodies, but in the world around us. While we as humans struggle over the possibility for us to be able to carry out the performance of a miracle, miracles are an every second occurrence in the work of our Father. They are not a problem or concern to Him at all! Jesus was the same way. Can you imagine being Jesus and having to prove that you were God by performing miracles and that all of mankind’s salvation hinged on His ability to do miracles so people would believe? You or I left to ourselves would be “up a creek without a paddle” and headed straight for a waterfall that would drop us to our death. Yikes!!! I don’t suppose many would believe in us in the end. The Good News is that we have not been left to ourselves! Jesus became a man and walked upon this earth just as we do and He was someone who had great faith. We see this all throughout His life how He with His Father in Him turned water into wine, gave blind men their sight, healed illnesses and diseases, provided abundance where there was too little, walked on water, rode a colt that was never ridden and doing so without a rodeo, changed murderers into saints and raised Lazarus from the dead. We see the evidence of His faith in His words spoken to the people watching just before He raised Lazarus. He said “Did I not tell you that if you believed, that you would see the glory of God?” He then thanked His Father for hearing His prayer and in so many words told His Father, I knew all along that you heard my prayer – no doubts here that you are going to do a miracle. I’m only saying this for the sake of the people that they might believe that You sent Me. The scenario before Him, of Lazarus being dead in the tomb was a stretch of faith for Martha. She saw the bleak circumstances, the possibility of the impossibility of a miracle. For the stone to be removed from the entrance of the tomb was a step of faith. As a result of this step of faith, a miracle happened and the glory of the Lord was revealed just as Jesus believed all along. As I reflect upon this story, I ask myself and I ask you what might be happening in your life today where a stone of doubt needs to be rolled away revealing an entrance of faith for a miracle to be presented? Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but as He hung on the cross, people mocked Him for not being able to save Himself from death, but you know what? They were wrong! Woohoo! Our Father raised Him from the dead and another miracle happening in our lives today is that Jesus is interceding or praying with complete faith to His Father concerning our lives. Even when we do not know what to pray, His Spirit in us groans out in faith, believing in our Father to do great miracles as He is doing this very moment. God in us makes each one of us a miracle worker. It’s a miracle! I’m stepping out with you in miraculous faith today, knowing our Father will be faithful to do great things. How exciting is that?
Jn 2:1-11, 4:43-5:15, 11:38-44, 14:8-14; He 2:3-4; Mk 11:1-11; Mt 14:13-36; 14-27:41-44; Ro 8:26-39; Ac 2:14-41, 9:1-31
Well, it is our Father’s will that we adventure through this new day with Him. It is an amazing gift to have life and with it are many opportunities to put into practice our faith in the One who loves us unconditionally and has our best interest at heart. Faith is defined as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” There are many in the Bible who lived amazing lives all because they had faith in the promises of God. They looked ahead to what was to come and believed their Father would be faithful to take care of them – to work good through the circumstances they were in. Faith made the difference to turn weakness to strength, fear to bravery, sadness to joy, unrighteousness to righteousness, hopelessness to hopefulness, giving up to perseverance, discouragement to encouragement, man’s will to God’s will done. Faith was the difference that enabled them to do what they would have been otherwise unable to do. You could say they were able to “do the do” of His will. These people had faith that the promises of God would come to pass. Elizabeth was a woman who understood this. She told Mary “Blessed (happy) is she who believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” In other words, His “will will!” Of Jesus, it is said “Whoever believes in Him, shall not perish.” He preserves the faithful! In Him, we are born into a living hope through His resurrection into an inheritance that will never perish, spoil or fade. What this is saying is what is promised will be! How cool is that! When we have trials in life, though, it is often hard to see hope and understand how things will work out for good, but our Father says not to lean on our own understanding. Unbelief is something we can ask our Father to help us with. He honored that honesty in a man who had a demon-possessed son and also with doubting Thomas who had to see Jesus for himself. Jesus also said “Blessed are those who believe and do not see.” Faith is being certain of what is not seen - it is believing upon a seen promise of God. Our Father says that in trials, our faith which is more precious than gold will be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus is revealed. There is a day coming when Jesus will be revealed. All things will be eventually laid bare – we will know fully. This is a promise we can cling to! Of God, it is said He is faithful to the faithful and that with God, all things are possible. He raised Jesus from the dead and He has given us life! These are things that seem impossible and beyond my ability to understand and they help me have faith that He can do what seems impossible in my life. It helps me keep going, to “do the do” of His will, knowing His “will will” be accomplished and His promise is that it’s all gonna be good. These thoughts have this cowgirl stepping out in faith today. Oh, my Father – He is so good!
Good day to each of you, my beloved family! How special it is that as our Father’s children, we all get to be His kids together under His guidance. I don’t know about you, but I would have it no other way! Being in His hands is a good place to be in life. However, I had someone share with me yesterday that it is hard to understand why our Father works as He does in our lives. If you have ever been a parent, you know that sometimes you’ve had to make choices for your own kids that they did not understand and they were not happy about at the time. Our Father’s Word tells us, though, that He works all things for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. It has always been our Father’s plan to grow us into the likeness of His Son Jesus and sometimes it takes the hard stuff in life to grow us up – the hard things that we have a hard time understanding. This is why our Father who understands us tells us not to lean on our own understanding, but to trust in Him. I have seen the Lord work good things in my life through difficulties and because I have seen this, it has made it easier to embrace the trials that come along and see it as for His best for me. The Apostle Paul understood this as well. Paul had a great blinding experience in his life when he lost all his sight and that would have been devastating to anyone, but new insight of Christ came as a result of it. I’m sure if you ask him today, he would not say he would have wanted to miss out on what he gained through that experience. Years later, he said that his imprisonment really served to advance the Gospel as it became clear to all the world, including the contingency of soldiers who cared for Paul that he was imprisoned not for a crime, but rather for his stand for Christ. Paul’s imprisonment also spurred on his fellow Christians to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly. Paul’s imprisonment was a good thing to have happen for the world. When life causes you to question why this or why that, our Father asks us the question “Will you trust me?” As a loving Father, He speaks hope to the faithless. It is in the hard times that we need to draw in close to Him, seeking Him with all of our heart and when we do, it is then that we find the kind of peace that transcends all understanding. The kind of peace that causes others to say “How can you have such peace when this is happening to you?” Then it is a great opportunity to share your hope in the Lord with someone who is perhaps faithless! Sharing the reason for your hope just might make their road ahead a much easier one to travel! I have heard it said that we become tomorrow what we believe today and what we believed yesterday has put us where we are today. Our Father is trustworthy and the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Therefore, I’m seeking to know and believe my Father’s promises today and trusting Him to work good through this day and all my tomorrows as well. I’m hoping a good day for you, too!
Php 1:12-14, 4:6-8; Ac 9:1-22; Pr 3:5-6; Jer 29:11; 1 Pe 3:15; Ps 23, 34:10; Heb 13:8
It’s a powerful Monday! Mentally this morning, I’m facing this week with my tights on, a cape tied around my neck and I have a giant “S” upon my chest that stands for the strength of my Father’s Spirit in me that makes me “super.” I don’t say this out of arrogance or based upon my own efforts and I have to say that I see you clothed the same way. Have you ever wondered how you might look clothed in tights and such? Perhaps this will help you visualize what I mean. For us who believe in Him, we are tapped into or clothed in His incomparable great power. This power is like the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the Heavenly realms. It is the same power that created all we see when we look to the Heavens. It is the power of He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength not one of them is missing! He does not grow tired or weary and increases the power of the weaklings. Whoohoo! Even youth grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar like eagles or I say like “Superman” or “Superwoman!” We will run and not grow weary. We will walk through this week and not be faint. Why it just makes me think that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength! In light of this, I’m jumping out into the air of this day in His strength. Hmmmm. The fleeting thought of a giant chicken dressed in tights passes through my mind. Yikes!!! I don’t want to rest there so I’m remembering that His safety net is below me and keeping me safe. See yaaaaaaa………!
This week is trudging right along and here we are at Thursday. I hope your day is going better than Jesus’ as told by Mark’s story. Jesus is found smack dab in the middle of His Father’s will, but it is not a walk in the orchard of Mount Olives like He so enjoyed. He is now being tried before the high priest, the elders and teachers of the law as they all came together to dig up dirt on Jesus. You would think they would’ve had this figured out before they arrested Jesus. Wow! Talk about pressure in life! Can you imagine? It would be kind of like all the heads of major ministries and churches putting you before them for scrutiny. They have their fine-toothed combs and high-powered microscopes out and they are looking closely for evidence to put you to death. In Jesus’ case, they couldn’t find any – probably because the man was a saint and actually Divine! Some of them resorted to lies and false accusations about Him, but they couldn’t agree on these. Truth in minds tends to put people on the same page. The Truth indicators seemed to point that Jesus was the Christ and so they decided to ask Him if He was. He answered truthfully back that He was. At hearing the Truth they didn’t believe Him, but none the less, the Truth moved them to decide to unify and condemn Him worthy of death. Hence, they spit on Him, blindfolded Him, struck Him with their fists and asked Him to prophesy. Then the guards took Him and beat Him. Have you ever observed that there is power in numbers? One on one, people are not always a threat, but get them together with a crowd and watch out! Crowds have influence! Sometimes a crowd brings strength in good ways and some in not very good ways. I think it is important to recognize the influence of the crowds we choose to partner with in life. Dad’s Word says “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong!” Yikes!!! While Jesus had His crowd of enemies who really wanted to see Him out of the picture, there were those who followed with Him. One of them was Peter – our “superman.” Even though he wasn’t perfect, his heart for Jesus is seen in his telling Jesus he’d never deny Him, he was the one who put forth effort to defend him in the orchard of Mount Olives and now rather than abandoning Jesus, he stuck with Him and followed as close to Him as he could be. His heart was with Jesus. As seen in this story, it is in the tough times in life when you discover who your true friends really are. They are quite often more loyal than one’s own biological family. They are the ones who go the distance for you. They love you when others scatter away. In my heart, I so want to be that kind of a friend, yet like Peter I feel I often flounder in my humanity. I hate my flounders. ‘Tis so sweet we all have the perfect kind of a friend in Jesus! Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends. He sets the perfect example of a good friend in His forgiveness extended to His friends when they are scattered and fall away short of being perfect. Bless Him!
Mk 14:53-65; Jn 15:13; Pr 27:10; Ex 23:2
Good Tuesday morning, family! I’m thankful to have you all as my family in Christ and today, family (marriage) is the question at hand as a group of Saducees are now taking their turn at discrediting Jesus. It’s an interesting title, Saducees, because their mindset is sad you see! If you recall from yesterday’s study, the last effort to discredit Jesus by the Pharisees and the Herodians backfired. So, now they are sending in the Saducees who were a group who only studied the book of Moses (the Pentateuch – first five books of the Old Testament). They didn’t believe in angels nor spirits nor in the resurrection of the dead. Hence, these dudes presented to Jesus their question about marriage after death with an arrogant, ridiculing attitude. Jesus took it all in and then He pointed out to them their error in thinking in that they didn’t know Scripture nor the power of God who could raise the dead and give life. As Dad’s kids looking to the Bible for answers, it is important to look at all the books as a whole and not look at just a small portion for the full picture. To do so, is to end up like the Saducees, badly mistaken! Yikes!!! Jesus seized the opportunity with this group for a teachable moment and He enlightened them with the whole Truth that there would be no marriage in Heaven, but that we will all be as angels – immortal beings in the presence of God. Jesus went further to meet the Saducees where they were at in regards to the dead rising and pointed out to them from their own book of Moses that God referred to Himself to Moses at the bush as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (the existing patriarchs). Hence, Jesus concluded by answering their question by stating God is the God of the living, not the dead. Whoohoo! Oh, happy day is what I say! Today, we have even more Scripture (history) that testifies of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead which lends even more credit to Jesus’ answer in this passage. So, the moral of this story is that as Dad’s kids, if we want to know God’s will concerning life and death issues, it is important to know the Scriptures so we are not in error. Otherwise, we might find ourselves like the Saducees did – real chumps in the end and sad you see. How sad indeed it would be to think this life on earth is the end of life. Yikes!!! I’m glad there is more to the story than their version. Dad’s complete Truth story promises through the Good News of Jesus, that eternal life with Him after this life is for real. So many don’t know that or they are confused. This is why as Dad’s kids, it’s good for us to know Dad’s Word and I’m practicing my PhD (Praising holy Dad) that He is so smart and has the plan of all plans. Let’s keep going and sharing the Truth with others so instead of people being sad you sees, they’ll be glad you sees! Have a glad day!
Mk 12:18-27; Ac 23:8; Ro 12:2, 2 Ti 3:15-17; Ex 3:6; Dt 25:5-6; 1 Co 15; Lk 10:25-28, 20:39; Pr 3:5-6; Jer 29:11; Jn 3:16
Good Thursday morning! Today, I’m seeking to trust in all our Father intends for us! Yahoo! I know Dad has the best plan ever for each of us and I’m excited to see how it all plays out. It’s gonna be exciting. Yep, it’s another adventure. Here we go moving along in this gift called life! That is exactly what the disciples and Jesus are doing as we peek inside of Mark’s storybook today. It says as they went along about life, they came across that fig tree again that we studied yesterday. Peter remembered it well and he pointed it out saying “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered from the roots.” Do you ever keep a prayer journal to go back and look at what you have prayed and how our Dad answered your prayers? It’s good to remember His faithfulness! Peter’s expression here is interesting. It is on one hand an attitude that is very excited in seeing the answer to Jesus’ prayer or heart desire towards the fig tree and on the other hand it is expressing an attitude of shock or surprise that Jesus’ prayer was actually answered as He had prayed it. What happened here is that Jesus’ will was spoken and the Father answered it in accordance to His will. Jesus tells the disciples they needed to pray in the same way. He said “Have faith in God. I tell you Truth. If anyone says to this mountain be cast into the sea and does not doubt, it will be done for you. Faith accepts it as good as done! Have you ever prayed a prayer and then said “thanks, God because I know you will be faithful with this request?” Jesus told His disciples that “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.” In John 14:12-13, Jesus told them “anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” To have faith is to believe without doubt that all things are possible with God and each day holds the possibility of a miracle. In fact, each moment of every day IS a miracle. This passage of God’s Word is one of those that must be taken in context with all the rest of God’s Word – the Bible needs to be looked at as a whole. As we do so, we find that while all things are possible for God, prayer in accordance to our Father’s will is important. If a father tells his child “For your best interest, I do not want you to eat three giant candy bars right before bedtime,” it seems it would be out of line for the child to then ask his father as he is being tucked into bed for three candy bars. He can believe with all of his heart that the father will give him the candy, but it would be going against the father’s character, his spoken word or will for him to do so. The father would not want to honor his child’s request knowing it would be harmful or not in the best interest to his child’s well being in the long run. It would also be out of line for the father to give in to the child’s foolish request and to do so would not be an act of love. The same is true with our Daddy in Heaven. Our Dad IS love and is all about blessing us, but it is in the context of Jesus’ name. Jesus taught us to pray “hallowed be Thy name” when talking to our Father. To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray in accordance with all Jesus was and is. It is to pray in accordance with carrying forward the work Jesus intends. We see this even in Jesus’ life when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that “if it be possible, that the hour might pass from Him.” He said to His Father “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” At first glance, it can look like all the work Jesus had been so geared up to accomplish on the cross for our sins was now being thrown under the bus so to speak with regards to His heart’s desire. But in reality, it was a prayer for unity in accordance with His Father’s will. He was actually praying the time would move forward (the hour would pass) and that the work on the cross would be completed. His prayer for the cup to be removed was the cup of death that He would experience. He was praying here to be raised up again from the cup of death and three days after His death, He rose again. Praise Dad!!! The Father honored both of Jesus’ requests because He prayed in accordance with the Father’s will. If He had prayed contrary in asking that the cross not happen, it would’ve been a whole different story and one contrary to the character of God. It would’ve been a sad day for us all!!! Jesus ends His teaching in this passage by saying “when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him (her) so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” This speaks to me again the importance of taking a stand in line with our Father’s will when we pray by having an attitude of forgiveness towards others including ourselves. If our Father forgives us, we need to forgive others. Also, do we forgive ourselves? This is important because it is to stand in agreement with the Father that we are forgiven for our sins. It is not good for us to hang on to our failures. We need to learn from them, but release them as cleansed from us and forgiven by our Father so that our Father has an attitude of forgiveness towards us when we pray. Oh, our Dad is so sweet to want to bless us. I’m thinking it is important that we study His Word so that we know His will – His good, pleasing and perfect will. This will help us to pray in accordance to His Kingdom come and that’s what this cowgirl desires as I know it is His best for me! It is also such a comfort to me that even when we do not know what to pray, the Holy Spirit within us takes where we lack and intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. As a result, when we pray or ask about anything with an attitude of desiring our Father’s will, we can believe without a doubt that we will receive His will that holds back nothing as being impossible. That thought for me moves a huge mountain of anxiety into the sea of peace for my life that only my Daddy can bring about. I’m thinking I’ll pray my way through this day and trust my Daddy for the results, how about you? Peace to ya’s!
Mk 11:20-25, 14:35-36; 1 Sa 1:26; Eph 4:32; Ro 8:22-39, 12:2; 1 Jn 5:14-15, Jn 14:12-14, 27, 15:7, 16:23-24; Mt 6:9-10, 18:20
I’m traveling through Thursday with ya and with His disciples, Jesus is traveling on to the villages around Caesares Philippi in our story today. On the way, Jesus asked them “Who do people say I am?” The disciples answered Him saying “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah; and still others one of the prophets.” Jesus then asked His disciples “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” Peter answered “You are the Christ.” Jesus then warned them not to tell anyone about Him. Continue reading →
Monday, May 14, 2012
Well, I’ve made it through the weekend to Monday and so thankful to be in Daddy’s company. I know I’m not the only one who loves His presence. As Jesus performed many miracles, a crowd was always following after Him. Because of His great compassion for the people and concern for their need to eat, He miraculously fed them with seven loaves of bread and a few small fish the disciples provided. He gave thanks, broke them and gave them to the disciples to distribute, hence feeding 4,000 with food to spare. Then sending them away, He got into the boat with His disciples and went to the region of Dalmanutha. The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test Him, they asked Him for a sign from Heaven. He sighed deeply and said “Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it.” Then He left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. It strikes me that Jesus sighed deeply when asked by the Pharisees for a sign from Heaven. This story speaks to me that Jesus understands high expectations and disbelief. He wanted the Pharisees to believe in Him for who He was – the great “I Am.” He desired them to love Him just as He was without having to gain their approval or acceptance based on more performance or meeting their expectations. To be accepted just as I am is what we all desire, too. It is to have unfailing, unconditional love – the kind of love that Jesus gives to us. He demonstrated this kind of love for us in that while we were still sinners, He died for us. He tells us that He does not find His pleasure in the strength of the horse, nor does He find His delight in the legs of a man (man’s own ways) but He delights in those who fear Him (respect, trust, believe and reverence Him) and put their hope in His unfailing love for them. He desires we believe in Him and the message He brings, to love Him for who He is and as He is. He desires we find comfort knowing we have His love, too! I know He loves me as I am because His Word tells me these things: God so loved me, He sent His only Son to die on a cross to save me from sin and death just through my faith in Him and not of myself. I am saved as a gift from God, not by works so nobody can boast. My efforts are as filthy rags, yet I can approach His throne with confidence because He is my high priest who sympathizes with my weakness. When I confess my sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive my sins. Oh, I’m so happy God’s love for us is not based on us pulling off the impossible of living perfect! Just as we are – that’s how Jesus loves us! Whoohoo! It just makes me want to love Him right back and love others this way as well. I’m sending much love to ya’s. Have a great day just as you are! Mk 8:1-13; Eph 2:8-9; Gal 3; Pr 19:22; Ps 147:10-11; Heb 4:15-16; 1 Jn 1:9; 4:7-21; Is 64:6; Jn 8:58-59; Mt 22:34-40
>I’m joining you this morning back on the other side of the lake with Jesus and His disciples. If they were rowing back and forth across the lake, I bet they had good arm muscles! Upon arrival to shore this time, Jesus was greeted by a crowd of people. One of them was a ruler from the synagogue who sought Him to heal his little girl who was dying. As Jesus headed there, a crowd pressed in on Him and a woman who had exhausted her finances and efforts of being healed by doctors touched the cloak of Jesus thinking to herself “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.” It amazes me that Jesus knew what she was thinking and what she had done and asked “Who touched me?” His disciples thought it outrageous that He would ask such a question in the crowd situation they were in. It took great courage for the woman to speak up, as according to society she was considered “unclean” in her condition. But falling to her knees and trembling with fear, she told Him the whole truth. Jesus extended her grace as a result of her faith, calling her His daughter (His family). He told her to go in peace and that she was free from her suffering. While He was still speaking, some men came and told him the little girl who was ill was now dead so not to bother going to her. Ignoring what they told him, Jesus told the girl’s father “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” He did not let anyone follow Him except Peter, James and John, the brother of James. Upon arrival at the house, many were inside crying and wailing loudly. He said to them “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead, but asleep.” But they laughed at Him. After putting them all out, He took the child’s parents and the disciples who were with Him and went to the child. He took her hand and said “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” She got up to the complete astonishment of those watching. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this and he told them to give her something to eat. In all of this, Jesus “sparkled” with great discernment that was beyond the understanding of those around Him. Jesus had His Father’s insight and knew what to share, what not to share, with whom to share and the right timing to share. Jesus knew His Father and His plan. He was not swayed from it by others’ thoughts. His heart was to love and bless the people around Him and do the will of the Father. I so want to be like Jesus! Dad’s Word says discernment comes by seeking His knowledge and if we lack wisdom to ask Him for it. He says to preserve knowledge and sound judgment and not to let them out of sight. They will be life to us, an ornament to grace our necks. Then we can go on our way in safety and our feet will not stumble. The Lord will be our confidence and keep our feet from being snared. Ok Dad, please make me smart and help me model your kind of jewelry – that neck ornament sounds way cool and so does not tripping. Mk 5:21-43; Pr 3:21-23; Col 1:9; Ja 1:5; Ro 12:2
II Corinthians 10:3-5 “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
The life of a Christian should be a life that is lived in the Truth. If you are a Christian (child of God through Jesus), then it is of critical importance to know the Truth about yourself. As I have gone through my life, I have noticed that I continue to struggle with thoughts of what others may think of me and negative thoughts I have of myself. I am about 5’8″, I have brown hair and I’m a caucasian male – these are a matter of fact. Even if I want to think otherwise and wear high-heeled boots, bleach my hair, tan my skin and get a sex change, I am still 5’8″, have brown hair and I’m a caucasian male. So I’m not talking about that. I am talking about thoughts like: Am I powerful? Am I smart? Am I valuable? Am I loved? Am I accepted? These kinds of thoughts go pretty deep and we have many ways to answer them. As a son of God, the most important thing for me to know is the answer that my Father gives. If you ask me what I believe His answer is, I would give you the right answer from the Bible. But, if I honestly look at how I conduct myself, I would have to admit that I struggle with knowing what I believe. So what’s the problem and what’s the answer? I want you to understand that you really do have an enemy, his name is satan and he hates you. The good news is that he is powerless over you unless you choose to believe his lies. I can say in one moment that I am loved and accepted by God and I am of such great value to him that he paid the ultimate price to have me as a son. Then in the next moment I can act like I am an orphan. This is because there are arguments (imaginations) that are spoken to you and you accept them as truth. This is not just a head game, these are thoughts that have been spoken from the mouth of the deceiver satan, either as a thought you had or a word someone spoke to you and unless we capture them and cast them down, they can change how you live. Although these things are not true, you can believe them and allow them to become a part of your life. I suggest that you begin to consider the Truth that our Father has spoken about you, consider what you think about yourself and if they are not the same, go to war! Call the lies out and denounce them by replacing them with Truth. You are free. Begin to live that way.
“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8
There is much to be learned about faith by reading Hebrews, chapter 11. One of the interesting things is how Abraham responded to the testing of God. The Bible states that, “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness”. Abraham actually demonstrated God’s plan for faith four hundred and thirty years before the law was instituted. As we have discussed in previous letters,(See Trinity Fellowship – Andy Taylor’s Page) Abraham had to do some extreme things to be obedient to God’s plan for him. He was asked by God to leave his country, his family and his father’s house (his generational influence). That would be an incredible test for anyone! But he wavered not. And the Word records yet another amazing thing that Abraham did that defies logic and conventional thinking. The Bible says that, “he went out not knowing where he was going.” Was it not enough for the Lord to require Abraham to leave virtually everything familiar and important to him behind? Couldn’t God at least tell Abraham where they were going? Apparently not!
Why would God be so vague and secretive to a person as obedient and devoted to Him as Abraham was? Well, the Lord knows the beginning from the end. He’s the author and finisher of our faith. God, in His wisdom, knows the frailties and weakness of human flesh. He knows that if He reveals to us the destination, or destiny, of our lives that we’ll try to find that destination by our own devices and get hopelessly lost doing so. It’s the way of the flesh. We are always trying to figure things out with our own minds.
If God had told Abraham the specifics of what his life would hold or if He had told Him where the ‘two of them’ were going Abraham would be like us. He’d try, by his own devices to get there. When we look at it that way it is obvious why God would not reveal where they were going. God had a plan. His plan was to have a family that would be the object of His blessing and His love. Abraham was to be the ‘father’ of that family. Since Abraham didn’t know the exact destination (destiny) He would have to totally depend on God for directions and that’s just the way God wants it….for Abraham and for you and I