I look out my window this morning into the beauty of another gorgeous spring day and I marvel at the power and the might of my Father. How ever does He do what He does? He moves Heaven and earth! He creates each new day! He controls all of nature! He brings forth spring rains and lets the sun shine upon us. He is the giver of all the life I see – the grass, the trees, the birds of the air, animals, human beings and He sustains us all moment by moment. His power is such that all the gifts of my life here today could be gone in an instant, but He chooses to and promises the gift of life to me eternally with Him. He never wants to see any of us fade away to nothing and be apart from Him. That is why sin’s affects on the world concerned Him so much. He did not want to lose any of us to the consequences of sin. That speaks to me that He cares for me and longs to have a relationship with little ’ole me and you. How special is that! He is a powerful giant, perfect in every way, holy and yet He is humble and gentle. He cares for us, His kids, each personally and individually, not only in seeing that our physical needs are met, but He cares about our well being in heart. This is what He, the high and lofty One says, He who lives forever and is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” He is a God who desires to bring healing to us and see to it that we are well. He who is perfect and holy, without sin, has seen that we all have our struggles with sin living in this world that hurts us and He sees us with compassion and mercy and rescues the humble in heart. All have sinned and fall short of God’s holiness, but He so loved all of the people of the world that He Himself became flesh in Christ and died on a cross for all mankind’s sin so that those who have acknowledged or confessed their sin and their need for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to save them from the wages of sin could be helped. When our all powerful God sees that humbleness of heart in a person, it just melts His heart and draws Him right into the midst of their heart where He dwells and longs to guide us and comfort us in life. “Peace, peace” is His heart for us all. He is so sweet and loving. He is a gentle giant, our God. I praise Him for His great kindnesses in caring so much for me this day. Our all powerful Father loves us. How special is that? May you feel the presence of His tender love for you today. His peace to you.
As my Father drew me to Himself this day, I chuckle as I read His Word and see that I’m not the first one to understand how awesome Jesus is! Yesterday, I studied about a leprous man who was drawn to Jesus for healing and after receiving Jesus’ mercy on him, Jesus asked him to not tell anyone, but to go and show himself to the priest and offer a sacrifice for his cleansing as a testimony to them, but the man did not listen to Jesus. Just like with all sin, there are consequences and in this case, it made it so that Jesus could not enter a town openly but instead He stayed outside in lonely places. Jesus told the man not to tell anyone about his healing because Jesus had to be careful with timing – too much fame too soon could create some problems in carrying out His mission and that is what happened. Even though Jesus had to be more secluded from public, the people still came to Him from everywhere. You might say that Jesus had and still has what draws the human heart! His unfailing love, mercy, forgiveness, power, Words of wisdom and hope that brings peace and help to a struggling soul is something the world just cannot provide and people from all over the world who are discovering Him just can’t get enough of Him. They are always drawn to Him! Now that Jesus’ mission to go to the cross as a sacrifice for the sin of all people has been accomplished, He desires us to tell others about Him and if we who know of Him want to really bless someone around us, the greatest gift we can give to them, the kindest deed that can be done for them is to tell them about Jesus. Their souls will be forever blessed! Let’s not keep the best thing going to ourselves. Oh, I so hope that you experience fully the gift of Him in your life wherever you are today! Seek Him out – you will be so glad that you did! Much love to you all ~
I’m pondering a man with leprosy today as he steps forward to approach Jesus for help with his condition. Leprosy was often referred to as one of several skin diseases that placed many restrictions on a person who was struggling with it. Often in days of old, they were banned by society and the thought of approaching one such as Jesus was considered very wrong in the eyes of the Law and society. Therefore, as the man with leprosy stepped out to approach Jesus, I have to say that I admire this man as he chose to act on his faith in who Jesus was rather than fear judgment. In fact, this man had a very interesting attitude towards Jesus, in that he knew that Jesus had the power to destroy him for breaking the Law and if God chose to be a God of wrath, He was certainly capable and he also knew that if Jesus wanted to heal him, that he could do that as well! The man could’ve let his fear of God and his own legalistic approach to life prevent him from approaching Jesus, but instead he chose to act on his faith that God was capable to help him and that He might be a “merciful” God, however, the man had some question about Jesus being merciful. Sometimes it is easier to believe in God’s power than in His mercy, but God is indeed rich in mercy and this was very evident when Jesus responded to the man by saying “I am willing, be healed!” In so doing, Jesus placed love and relationship over the Law. This was His heart evidenced when Our Father demonstrated His love and mercy for us in that while we were yet sinners, He died for us so that we could have a relationship with Him. His mercies are new every morning when we confess our sins to Him and He cleanses us from all unrighteousness! He also promises to work all things for the good of those who are called according to His purpose. Hallelujah! Now how merciful is all of that! Jesus is someone who understands us and sympathizes with us and the author of the book of Hebrews encourages us to approach the throne of grace (Jesus) just as the man of leprosy did, with confidence to receive of His mercy and grace to help us in our need! Jesus was all about mercy over sacrifice, but in view of His mercy to us, let us do as Luke tells us to as a spiritual act of worship of our Lord - to be merciful as our Father is merciful. Jesus so longs for us to love one another as He loves us and that is with mercy. Mercy is to have pity or compassion for the ills of others, to exhibit and feel compassion towards one another. Mercy was shown to the leprous man and his life was forever changed. That thought just has me all inspired! Let us approach His throne of grace with confidence and pray for mercy and grace to have hearts of mercy with which to love others. We as our Father’s children can do just as Jesus did – show mercy and change the world! How wonderful is that thought? Much love to you all!
Our Father is such a great teacher! I am awed more and more by Him the longer I walk with Him! He has it together and I so want to be just like Him in all I think, say and do. I hear His voice say to me this morning through His Word – “learn to do right.” As I read in the book of Micah about how the Israelites had walked in ways of opposition to our Father’s best for them, the question is before the Israelites what to do to get right with God and to please Him. There are questions of sacrifices that need to be made to cover their sin. The answer God shows them that is good in response to their question is “to act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with God.” In the Old Testament, God’s people were under the Law, as the time of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross had not yet came about. If they failed to live perfectly by the Law of God, the penalty for their sin was death, but an animal as close to perfect as possible was sacrificed to cover the sins of the people so that their lives were personally spared. Later in New Testament days, Christ became that perfect and final sacrifice for mankind’s sins and hence, we are no longer bound by the Law and all those who believe in Christ are made perfect forever. It was all part of a new covenant God made with His people that after this time of Christ’s sacrifice, His law would be written upon our hearts and written upon our minds and our lawless acts would no longer be remembered and where there is forgiveness, there is no longer sacrifice required. While this is true, it is our Father’s heart that we keep His ways that are best for us in our minds and upon our hearts and live by them as a way of loving Him with all our heart, soul and mind. Part of loving Him, is loving each other and to do so, we need to “learn what is right” to love each other. God showed the Israelites in days of old what was good in response to their question of what they should do to get right with God and while we are all forgiven for falling short of being right through the sacrifice of Christ today, the same Words He gave the Israelites is good for us today. Here is a way we can do what is right in loving Him and that is to love each other by acting justly (rightly) towards each other, loving mercy towards each other and walking humbly with our God. These sound like good Words our Father has shown this morning and I’m a gal stepping out to implement those things in my relationships with others today. Oh, my Father is so wise and I want to be just like Him. Much love to you all ~
Mic 6:8; Is 1:17; Heb 10:14-17; Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 1:9; Mt 22:34-40; 1 Co 13:1-13
I’m a cowgirl feeling loved this morning as my Father reminds me of how great His love is for each of us. In His kindness and love, He came to earth to save us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. Believing in Him, we are born again and renewed by His Holy Spirit into new life. Oh, our Father is so generous to us! He has poured out His Spirit upon us so generously that we are all justified by His grace, rescued from sin and death, given the hope of eternal life in His Kingdom and we have the closeness of His Spirit within us to help us through each moment of our day. We don’t have to prove ourselves to be accepted by Him – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He accepts us just as we are with open arms. That is exactly how He died on the cross for us – with open arms. Now how cool is that! I so love the words of this song – give a listen if you can
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, family. As I begin this day, my Father beckons me to come to Him as He is seated on His throne of grace. In Christ, we are all children of the King of all kings! We are all part of His royal family, dearly loved and our Father loves having us as His kids join Him and spend time with Him even though He is a King. He is a Father whom we can share our hearts with freely, One who understands us fully. He longs to have us talk to Him and He desires to talk to us. There is always mercy and grace found there to help us in our time of need. Oh, our Father – how special is He. He IS perfect love. After spending time with Him, I can step out from His throne with confidence, knowing His love is always with me. May you know His love today as well, no matter where you are and no matter what you may be going through. His perfect love to you ~
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!
Dear Family ~ I hope you all had a great weekend! Monday is here with the gift of another day of new opportunity. As always, I want to begin this day by listening for my Father. Our brother Mark is telling the story today of when the disciples and Jesus went to Jericho and as they were leaving with a large crowd, a blind man sitting on the roadside begging, hears that Jesus was near. How about that? It seems he had his listening ears on, too! He knew Jesus offered hope to his life and he began to shout “Jesus, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and basically told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more – Son of David, have mercy on me!” This man, as it is for many of us today, had those who voice opposition and seek to squelch our pursuit of Jesus. I find it admirable that this man didn’t listen to them and he was determined not to miss out on the blessing of seeking Jesus for His life! Hee, hee! I have to snicker here because I can imagine that if I was there, I’d be encouraging him “keep going for Jesus, dude!!!” I’m so glad he did! Well, what happens next sure blesses this cowgirl. Marks says Jesus stopped. In other words, when one who has faith in Jesus calls out to Him, He stops and zooms in to listen to His child. I don’t know about you, but that comforts me as one of His children to know He listens when He hears my voice! “Call him,” he said to those with Him. So the people following Jesus said to the blind man “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you!” Just like this man, when we have determination in seeking Jesus, we receive cheer and encouragement to stand and sometimes that cheer and encouragement is spoken to us through others who follow Him. Also, just as Jesus called him, each of us are called by Jesus. When you hear the call on your life, it is a precious gift and mine made me react the same way as this blind man did, in that once he received his call and his mind zoomed in on pursuing Jesus, he threw his cloak aside. He didn’t just set it aside, he THREW it aside meaning he had enthusiasm in the choice of doing so! Ya know, some things that are once valuable before the call of Christ lose their importance after Christ’s call. Jesus’ Words can be real life changers and we see this here as Jesus asked the man: What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man had a heart that wanted the vision for his life that Jesus could give Him and he told Jesus his desire when he said “Rabbi, I want to see!” “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you!” The blind man not only received his physical sight as a result of his faith to seek Jesus, but he also received the vision for the direction he was to take in life. Mark says that immediately (without delay) he received sight and followed Jesus along the road. I’m so proud of this man for choosing to follow Jesus along the road of life instead of going his own direction. I have to smile here as I can visualize myself along the side of this man as we dance and clap our hands down the road along with our other brothers and sisters, all following Jesus and singing “I see the light, I see the light, no more darkness, no more night. Now I’m so happy, no sorrow in sight – praise the Lord, I see the light! Whoohoo!!! It’s such a gift to be on the same road of Jesus with ya! It sure makes for a great day! Much love to ya’ll ~
Mk 10:46-52; Php 3:8; He 3:13