Happy Wednesday dear family! As I share my Father’s thoughts to me this morning, I feel a little background information might be helpful. For those of you who do not know me, I am married to a scientist type – a propane consultant. Over the years of being married to him, I’ve learned that propane, in its natural state, has no odor or color which can make it hard to detect. Therefore, an odorant called ethyl mercaptan is added to it. It serves a great purpose, but this odorant has a revolting, almost nauseating stench to it. It is definitely effective in providing an alert to the propane’s presence and when you get a whiff of it, it is as bad if not worse than skunk odorant. Phew!!! In reading our Father’s Word today, He has shown me that righteousness and sin can give off fragrances or odors in life. I have a friend whose favorite perfume is called “Heaven Sent.” It has a wonderful smell – an aroma you just want to breathe in and have it linger, but I don’t think any of us would be into putting a few drops of skunk oil behind our ears, as its smell would be something people just want to get away from. Yikes!!! Our Father’s Word says as dead flies give perfume a bad smell, a little folly (foolishness) outweighs wisdom and honor. In light of this, my prayer this day is “Father, please help me to be a sweet fragrance of your righteousness in how I live my life to all those around me. It is the “Heaven Sent” fragrance I always want to wear so that You are glorified and people are blessed. Amen.”
Happy Fourth of July! Today I’m celebrating our freedoms that we have in America that are gifts that many people throughout the world do not have. Each year as I think about what freedom means, my heart always goes to the thought of including the freedom that many throughout the world do have – freedom from sin as a result of what Christ did for us on the cross. It is truly the greatest freedom one can have as it grants us escape from eternal death and separation from God our Father. This calls for a big celebration. Whoohoo! Yesterday in our study, we walked through Jesus’ last few hours of earthly life on the cross and today we see that in Mark’s story it is Preparation Day which is the day just before the Sabbath. Jesus died at about 4:00pm and as sundown was approching which would be the start of the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a rich prominent member of the Council who Himself was waiting for the Kingdom of God went to Pilate and ask for the permission to take Christ’s body. Pilate was surprised that Jesus was dead already as crucified men often lived two or three days before dying. He summoned the centurion who was the commander of the soldiers and he confirmed Jesus’ death, hence Pilate released Jesus’ body to Joseph. Joseph then took some linen cloth, took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the linen and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone across the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses saw where Jesus was laid. As I reflect on this story, it stands out to me the boldness of Joseph who was one of the Sanhedrin who had actually became a disciple of Jesus. This was risky business and yet he chose to publicly take a stand for the sake of Jesus and he gave of his time and riches to provide the liinens and tomb to show honor to Jesus. This begs the questions I ask myself “How might I show honor to the Son publicly?” “Is there something I need to put to rest to show Him honor?” “How might I use of my resources to bless Jesus?” It strikes me that Joseph contemplated these things, but then when given the call, he acted quickly upon it. He didn’t drag his feet. No doubt he was the Father’s provision for Jesus. Jesus’ suffering on the cross being so short lived compared to others was truly a gift of mercy by the Father who loved His Son. While the Father separated Himself from the sin of mankind that Jesus represented as He hung upon the cross, no doubt the Father was watching the whole time and working His plans which included bringing honor to His Son. This speaks to me that while our Holy Father has no part of sin today, He is working in the midst of what looks tragic in the world and in the midst of tragedy, He calls His kids to action to minister for His Son’s honor. As His kid, I’m asking “Dad, what tragedy might be around me that you want me to act on to bring your Son honor and what are the details I need to take care of to do so?” I admire the ongoing love and support that the two Marys showed Jesus in this story. They were looking after His needs until the very end. . My life is not at end yet, but sundown is coming when it will no longer be the day of opportunity; it will be time for rest from all my work. In these modern last few hours of day, I am asking myself ”What needs does Jesus have that I can oversee to show Him love and support?” Starting with today, my heart is thinking about Jesus on this Fourth of July as I publicly celebrate His gifts of freedom in my life and I will be watching for opportunities to minister to Him that He might be honored. As I watch the fireworks tonight, I’ll be thinking about what He went through for me and celebrating Him in my heart as the giver of my freedoms. Thank you, Jesus!
Wednesday is upon us and as I open the treasure chest of our Daddy’s Word today, we see Jesus reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the leper. While Scripture doesn’t tell us for sure, Simon was probably a leper healed by Jesus. Jesus’ act of mercy, love and devotion towards him may have compelled the man to invite Jesus to his home out of a heart of thanks and a desire to give back to Jesus who had greatly blessed His life. Jesus is like that. Once you have been touched by His love, you desire more of Him and you desire to serve Him. The Gospel of John tells us this dinner was in Bethany where Lazarus lived whom Jesus had raised from the dead. It was a dinner held in honor of Jesus and it was served by Martha, while her brother Lazarus reclined at the table with Jesus. It sounds they were relaxing and enjoying the moment when Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha took an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume and broke it, pouring the perfume on Jesus’ head to anoint Him out of her great devotion to Him. She was doing what she could beforehand to prepare Him for what was to come (His burial). Many balked at the expense of her sacrifice as they saw many other needs, but Jesus saw the value of her choice. John’s Gospel says that what she did for Him was intended and He said that her act of love and devotion would be remembered throughout the world as the Gospel was preached. In application of all of this, I would like to encourage each of you brothers and sisters that the sacrifices you make for Jesus out of your love and devotion to Him will not be forgotten. He greatly appreciates what we do for Him. I’m resting in His love this day. Dad bless ya! ~Sheila~
Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8; He 6:10
It’s a special Saturday. Never will there be another day just like this one! It’s a unique adventure and I’m so glad Daddy has me in hand. Yesterday in our study, we looked at how Dad’s Words aptly spoken can color the pages of life beautifully. Our Dad – He sure is a great artist! The masterpiece of our Father’s Words spoken through our brother Mark today colors a picture that reveals a beautiful vineyard that is symbolic of the world our Father has created. He owns it and is its land Lord. Mark’s writing points out that at one time, our Dad entrusted His vineyard’s fruit bearing to a group of tenants (Jewish religious leaders of Israel) who ended up bearing bad fruit and they mistreated His representatives He sent to help them (prophets and ultimately Jesus). Therefore, He ended up entrusting His vineyard to others (gentiles) to work at bearing good fruit for His Kingdom to come and guess what? Ok, I’ll tell ya – you and I are Dad’s hired hands! Yeppers! We are blessed to be His workmanship to carry out His work. We’ve got the job and how wonderful to work for the greatest land Lord that ever was and ever will be! If we stay in communication with Him, He will provide us all that we need to bear much fruit that is a great reward to see and He says the wages He will pay us for our hard work for Him are more than we can imagine – out of this world in fact! At harvest time, He Himself is preparing for us the ultimate feast when we shall drink of His “Divine Wine” for which He is well known for and that is produced by this vineyard to which He has called us to tend to. You know, when you have been given a job that you love, it doesn’t seem like work at all, but each day is a gift, a privilege and an honor to serve one who is so wonderful! The times are getting ripe. The blessed day of His feast will be here soon. Until then, I’m co-laboring with you for the great harvest and enjoying the Sonshine of this day. I so enjoy teaming up with you for His Kingdom!
Mk 12:1-12; Jn 2:1-11; 15:1-17; Ac 13:42-48; Eph 2:10, 3:20; 1 Co 3:5-9; Mt 8:11, 9:37; Lk 14:15, 22:14-16; He 6:10; Rev 22:12
We’re talkin’ it’s Tuesday all day long and today we find Jesus starting on His way after spending time with the little children when a man runs up to Him and falls on his knees before Him. As I think of this, a line from a song runs through my mind – the lyrics are probably familiar to you: “Fall on your knees, oh hear the angels voices! Oh night, devine, oh night, when Christ was born.” Ok, I know it is a Christmas song, but the Spirit of Christmas should be lived out everyday, right? I share the thought to point out that from the day Jesus was born, people were moved to fall upon their knees before Him. To fall on my knees before my Lord everyday is a really good idea as well. I so admire this man in the story for his position of kneeling before Jesus! The being of Jesus is so extraordinary that it tends to bring a person to their knees. It is a position of reverence and honor. Someday Christ will return to earth from Heaven and when He does, Dad’s Word says every knee will bow before Him. The man in this story recognized Jesus as good, worthy of reverence and honor, but Jesus questioned Him as to why he called Him good. This was a question directed at the position of the man’s heart. Jesus told him “only God is good.” Jesus was trying to make a point to this man that God alone is able to live up to perfection. It is not something any man can do. Jesus questioned the man if he was aware of God’s Law, the Ten Commandments. The man responded that he was and that he had kept them since he was a boy. This reminds me of me before I had the full understanding of sin and how impossible it was to live the Ten Commandments perfectly. It was only when I understood how great my inability to live perfectly was that I understood why Christ died for me and that the only hope I had for eternal life with God was through His sacrifice on the cross for me. Wow! I’m so thankful that light turned on in my brain! What a relief and a burden of weight was lifted from me that day to know my Father’s acceptance of me was not based on my performance of living perfect. This thought is a good reason to keep going in ministry for our Father’s Kingdom, to help others understand this Truth! Upon hearing the man’s heart about how he had kept the commandments from the time he was a boy, it says Jesus looked at him and loved him. This statement brings a tear to this cowgirl’s eyes. Jesus saw this man’s lack and He loved him anyway. Even though he wasn’t perfect and didn’t fully understand how he fell short, Jesus loved him anyway. What an encouragement to me to know this is how Jesus sees us and loves us! I can’t help but think here that Dad so desires us as His kids to treat each other the same way. He sets a great example for us! Next, Jesus told the man to “Go and sell everything you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in Heaven. Then come and follow me.” This is not a request Jesus asks as a prerequisite of discipleship. Jesus asked this man this because He knew where this man’s heart was and that by giving away his wealth, the man would have removed the obstacle that was dearer to Him than pursuing Heaven with a perfect heart. To enter Heaven based on his own merit or efforts of obeying God’s commands was put to the test here – could he desire and pursue Heaven above all else? Jesus was correct in knowing this man’s heart and upon hearing this, the man’s face fell and he became sad because he had great wealth. Jesus told the Disciples “How hard it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” The Disciples were amazed at Jesus’ words and Jesus said again “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” This contrast of the largest animal in Palestine and the smallest opening represents what, humanly speaking is impossible. Well, after this visual mindset, the Disciples were then really amazed and said to each other something like “Yikes! Who then can be saved?” Jesus reassured them that “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” We cannot save ourselves from our sins by our works of righteousness. However, through belief in Christ’s death on the cross for the forgiveness for our sins, we can have the treasure of Heaven. Whoohoo! “Oh, thank you, Jesus for doing what was impossible for me do and for loving me where I lack. The thought of this brings me to my knees.”
Mk 10:17-27; Php 2:5-11; Ro 14:11; Jn 3:16; Mt 6:24; He 12:2-3; 2 Co 4:18; 1 Th 5:14; Is 64:6; Eph 2:8-9
Good Monday mornin’, dear family. I hope you all had a great weekend. I managed to transform my mountain of laundry into clean clothes to hang in the closet and as I begin this day, I join Jesus and His disciples as they are on top of the mountain, having just experienced the power of God as it changed Jesus’ appearance, leaving them not sure what to say and frightened. The next thing that happens is they find themselves within a cloud which is actually known as the symbol of the glory of God, the very presence of God. God personally spoke to them within the cloud and said “This is my Son and I love Him. Listen to Him!” All at once, they looked around and saw no one with them except Jesus. As they were coming off the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man rose from the dead which the disciples seized upon and discussed with one another what that meant. They had lots of questions for Jesus. They asked Him “Why is it the scribes say Elijah must come first?” Jesus said to them, “Elijah does come first and makes all things new again and yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer much and not be accepted?” He stated “I tell you, Elijah has come. They have done to him everything they wanted to do. They did it just as it is written about him.” Elijah is referring to John the Baptist who had came as a forerunner to Jesus, preaching repentance. He was put to death by King Herod. As I reflect on this story, these thoughts fill my mind. 1) First of all, what an honor for the disciples and for us as Dad’s kids to be able to see and hear the things of God. My heart so desires this for those who do not see and hear Him presently. It makes me want to keep going for Dad! 2) How would it be to have the God of the Universe personally recommend you as He did Jesus? Talk about a statement of accreditation! Guess what? Ok, I’ll tell ya – as Dad’s kids, He also gives us His vote of confidence when He says to “Go into all the World and make disciples.” We are His ambassadors or representatives entrusted to speak to others for Him. Are you like me, in that this encourages my heart to know my Dad desires “me” to be part of His team. Dad gives us this advice in so doing “Listen to His Son!” In stepping out for Dad, to successfully lead others, we must follow His voice and seek Him when we have questions. 3) After receiving the vision and hearing the voice of the Father, they saw no one except Jesus alone. I ask myself, do I see only Jesus in my life? He needs to be the focal point of my life whom I listen to and who leads me and and not anyone else. He tells us to seek the counsel of others at times, but everyone’s counsel should always be filtered through our Father for His guidance and final say. 4) When I think of one’s head in a cloud, I think of the importance to have our minds positioned in the presence of our Father and His voice and not be lofty or high up in the clouds of pride and self-talk. Apart from God, we can do nothing on our own. There are times when I can also find myself too low to the ground and frightened due to cloudiness of mind. I know others sometimes struggle with allergies, affects of medications, lack of knowledge, too many things on the brain and lack of sleep that affect our thinking and can leave us feeling inadequate, too lowly. It is always encouraging to me to know that others struggle with this as well not that I desire others to struggle, but it makes me feel I’m not the only imperfect in the world. In this state, we need to also “Listen to God’s Word (Jesus) which says to seek His healing, trust Him to help us, to give us wisdom, work good through us and to think of ourselves with sober judgment. Because of this struggle in my life, it helps me to lend grace to others who are struggling. Well, dear ones – it has been a great mountaintop experience with ya this morning. May the presence of our Father linger with you today and be a great reminder to you that He is ever present, He loves you and desires for you and me to join Him in His work. Bless you!
Mk 9:7-13; Mt 11:13-14, 28:16-20; Ex 24:15-16; 2 Co 5:20-21; Ro 8:28-29; Ps 103:1-3, 121, 139:7-12; Ro 12:1-8; Jn 3:16
>Good morning, family. Dad’s given thoughts from His Word today reveal to me that after lots of ministry work, Jesus decided to go home and take His disciples with Him to His hometown. On the Sabbath, He began to teach in the synagogue and many who heard Him were amazed. They began to ask questions like “So like where did this dude come up with this stuff?” “Where did he get the wisdom that has been given to him that he can do miracles?” “Why, isn’t this the carpenter?” “Isn’t this Mary’s boy, you know that one who had the questionable birth?” “Who’s his daddy?” Isn’t he the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon?” “Aren’t his sisters here with us?” Why pretty soon, they had talked themselves into being quite offended at Him. Jesus said to them “Only in yer hometown, among yer relatives and in yer own house is a prophet without honor.” Jesus could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. This wasn’t because He lacked power, but because He chose not to in such a climate of unbelief. He was amazed at their lack of faith. Sometimes it seems that the people that know us the best and are the closest to us can believe in us the least and because of their lack of faith, it can limit us in what we can do. However, as I see the example Jesus set, I learn these things from Him: 1) He did not see Himself as any lesser because of what others said about Him. He saw Himself with sober judgment. 2) He didn’t question His greatness in the eyes of His Father in Heaven nor His love for Him. 3) He taught Truth to others. 4) He used His gifting. 5) He did what He thought was right for the Kingdom of God. 6) He set a Godly example for others. 7) He continued to work to make disciples. 8) He exercised His faith in His Father. Wow! This passage ended up with a lot of beef (spiritual food) for me. So, in conclusion, I ask “Got faith?” If so, milk it! In other words, go or “moo”ve with it as it can make a difference in your life and in the lives of others! I sure hope your day is a “moo”ving experience! Much love to ya! Mk 6:1-6; 1 Pe 4:10-11; Ro 12:1-8; Mt 28:16-19