Greetings this day to you. This is the time of year that we celebrate the birth of our Savior and what a joyous event for us to remember and reflect upon! Christ aka Immanuel or “God with us” is such a miraculous provision of our Father’s love and grace to us. I marvel today, that in carrying out His great work of bringing Christ into the world, He chose two everyday people to partner with Him in accomplishing it. How exciting it is that our Father delights in working with each of us to accomplish great things in this world! In the passage of our Father’s Word that I am studying this morning, I see Mary who is pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with the Christ child through the Holy Spirit. Wow! What a surprise! I am sure this was not at all what either of them expected in life. Joseph, was quite confused by it. We see this, in that while he didn’t want to public disgrace her, he had in mind to divorce her quiety. Mary had to have been confused by the situation as well – excited about marriage, honored to have been chosen to carry the Christ child, but concerned for what Joseph was going through with this unexpected set of circumstances. In application of this story today, it strikes me that areas of someone’s life can be this same way sometimes – not quite what we have expected or dreamed it would be. I greatly admire that after considering the situation Mary and Joseph found themselves in, they saw the Lord had a plan in how to deal with it. Even in the unexpected set of circumstances, they saw that the Lord was wanting to work good through it for them. Upon understanding this, they carried out the Lord’s will in their blessed union. It speaks to me that each one of them individually looked to the Lord to be in their relationship with each other and in their circumstance what the Lord desired. In doing so, a great plan was carried out for them both. I ask myself and I ask of you, what circumstances have we found ourselves in that is surprising to us that we need to trust our Father in? I am inspired that in partnering with Him, He can work great things in the midst of whatever it is. So as I step out into today, I’m trusting my Father – He is Immanuel, “God with us” - a great reason to celebrate and keep going in doing His will where life has left us surprised!
Mt 1:18-25; Jer 29:11; Ro 8:28-29; 1 Pe 1:3-9; Ja 2:1-4, 12; 1 Co 3:9-15
Woohoo! I’m excited about a new day with our Father! I get excited with each day as each day is so full of surprises. Each day is an adventure! I see this same thing was so true of Paul’s life as you read through his writings and see how in being faithful to his Lord, in putting forth prayer and obedience to what his Father asked of him, the Lord went before him to open doors of opportunity for him and close doors where Paul needed to be guided away from in order to bring about the Lord’s plan for him. Along the way, Paul is joined by many others who were on God’s team as well and what special bonds were created as they teamed together and experienced all the adventures the Lord put before them. Through it all, Paul and his companions faced trials, had victories, endured hardship, shared joy and had to rely on the Lord to see them through. As a result, their faith became very strong and they grew to maturity. The Lord truly worked good through all that they experienced. As I reflect upon this, my heart is encouraged to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding or personal interpretation of the circumstances that appear at the moment because in and through it all, the Lord works His surprising good and perfect will! With this mindset, I’m stepping out in faith for what I know will be an awesome day with my Father. Much love to you wherever He may take you today! Enjoy! It’s a good life!
I’m thankful for another day of opportunity to shine for Jesus today! It is a gift and a privilege to do so. I so desire to be used by My Father to bring blessing to others! As I study my Father’s Word today, I see that same desire in Peter and John. As it was true for them, it is true in the lives of the saints today that people absolutely love it when we do good, but the moment that doing good touches an area of their life that they consider “untouchable,” not something they agree with or they are unwilling to surrender or sacrifice for Jesus, then suddenly they do not want anything to do with you or your Jesus. Some count the cost of following Jesus too high when it costs them something they don’t want to give up. Such was the experience the apostles encountered. I see that Peter and John were being obedient to the call Jesus had placed on their lives, in that they were going out to bring healing to people and the Pharisees and Sadducees saw that they were doing good things, but because they spoke Truth and they didn’t agree with it, they seized and jailed Peter and John to stop them. The next day when they questioned Peter and John, they were astonished by them and recognized the affiliation with Jesus. It left them in quite a dilemma of what to do with them. They decided to spare them, but put stipulations on them not to speak the name of Jesus. One thing that Peter and John did not do is deny the call of God on their life! They said they would obey God rather than man. They then prayed to their Father about the threat upon them and asked for His enabling of them to continue to speak boldly about Him, that His will would be done and recognizing that nothing would happen to them that their Father hadn’t already preplanned to happen. They asked Him to continue to bring healing and do His miracles and wonders through the name of Jesus. I so admire Peter and John because they stood firm in their faith and trusted their Father in the adverse circumstances they were in. After praying, the place where they were was shaken. They were filled with the Holy Spirit – they were provided what was needed to continue to speak boldly. Woohoo! How faithful is our Father! When presented with the “untouchable” problem, God showed His untouchable power! Given this story, I ask you and I ask myself today, are you in the midst of circumstances that threaten the sharing of your faith? If so, decide to continue in your faith and give the threats against you to our Father. All things are possible with Him! He is the worker of miracles and wonders and has a good and perfect plan for each of our lives. He plans to prosper us and not harm us, desiring to give us hope and a future. I’m trusting Him with ya today! Our Father is so good, let nobody tell you otherwise! Keep going for Him!
Ac 4:1-31; Ps 18:25, 31:23, 37:28; Mk 10:27; Jer 29:11
Hi my dear brothers and sisters! I share with you this day the thought that we have been chosen by the God of the Universe to be His to carry out His will, His plan and His purpose for each of us. What a joy to join Him in His work! He has made us holy in Christ and we are dearly loved. That thought inspires me and moves me from my cozy sitting place with Him this morning to my closet to get dressed for the day and as I do, I see He has laid out for me the perfect outfit to wear to bring Him glory. It is the clothing of myself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and layered over all of these garments of virtue, love which just ties it all together into one unified outfit perfect for walking through this day. My Father has good taste. I’m gonna trust in His provision and grace to represent Him well in all He has for me today! His taste can make me one stylin’ cowgirl and that adds thankfulness, peace, a song in my heart and a great big smile to my stepping out into the world! I’m seeking to bring glory to His name today. Oh, by the way, His Designer wear will look great on you, too!
I’m walking with you all today along the road of life we are on and I have a riddle for you. There are people who are pursuing righteousness that just don’t get it and others that are not pursuing righteousness and they do get it. Some would think the opposite would be the true way to get righteous. Here is the answer why it doesn’t work that way: People trying to get righteousness don’t get it because they pursue righteousness not by faith in Christ, but they try to get it by their works. Jesus is our righteousness, but it is as though Jesus is a rock over which some trip over and fall down because they just don’t see Him. But our Father says that the one who does see Him on the road of life and trusts in Him for righteousness will never be put to shame. I’m glad He is in my view and I’m keeping my eyes fixed on Him as I journey today to enjoy right standing the whole way to the end of the road – my eternal home! It’s gonna be so Heavenly there. How exciting!!!
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
How exciting to have this new day of opportunities! Each one of us have great opportunities to make a difference in the world around us, just like those of Biblical times. Each of us have our all-sufficient God who is not only capable of empowering us to carry out His will, His plan, His purpose for our lives – He desires to and is determined to. He is able to make all grace abound to us so in all things and at all times, we have all we need to abound in every good work! What a great promise! However, often people are held back in stepping out just like Moses was in the beginning. When God first asked Moses to go for Him and speak to Pharaoh, Moses lacked confidence in doing so. He resisted God’s call on His life because he had his eyes on himself and he feared his own ability to carry out the task he was asked to do. His heart wanted to serve the Lord, but his fear of his own capability held him back. Not only was he focused on his fear, he was also not trusting the Lord to enable him. In the end of the story, we know that Moses stepped out in obedience to what the Lord called him to do, but to get there, I see these secrets to his success: 1) He took the issues that concerned him to his Father for help. 2) His Father gave him guidance and Moses listened 3) Moses was obedient to do what the Lord told him to do and 4) The Lord was in control of the circumstances and the outcome and worked things out for the good of His people. Through this whole story, I see our Father’s kindness and faithfulness in helping Moses to carry out what He had asked of him. As they worked together, Moses’ fear was turned to boldness, faithfulness and success. Moses found His Father’s grace abounding and together they changed the world. I’m trusting in His grace to abound to me as I step out into this day. How about you?
Happy Monday! I’m beginning my day with a “step class” today, only instead of doing so at the gym where one would go to physically exercise, I’m doing so in a spiritual gym, so to speak, which is where my Father is the instructor. To my surprise today, I see that Abram was very good at “step.” Here’s how he did it: Step 1) Abram stepped out as the Lord had called him, to go where He had shown him and as the story goes, it says they arrived there. This speaks to my heart that when we are walking based on our Father’s direction, He will see to it that we arrive where He wants us. He is the One with the plan! Step 2)When Abram had reached Canaan where he was intended to go, he traveled along until the Lord spoke to him again and told him He was going to give Abram’s offspring the land before him. This was a promise that Abram held on to in faith. Step 3) Abram’s response to the Lord’s consideration of him was to take the step to build an altar to the Lord, humbling himself by lifting up a sacrifice for his sin and showing love to His Father. In so doing, the Lord appeared to him and hence, step 4)Abram went towards the hills and pitched his tent. Step 5) At this point, Abram again built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord where he was given the next step. Step 6) Abram continued toward Negev, again modeling “stepping out” following the Lord. It stands out to me here that Abram didn’t keep taking the same step, but his steps varied depending on what the Father showed him. As his Father showed him where his next step was, he took it, then he took the step to look to the Lord for the next step and then he took it and so on and so and so on……. I”m the kind of woman that feels a whole lot more secure if I know ahead of time all the steps I am to take and when, but part of being in our Father’s spiritual gym of life is that I need to keep looking to Him for every move and He doesn’t always show it to me until it is just the right time. I know this is good for me because it means trusting in my Father and stepping out in faith one step at a time just like Abram. It comes to me that the first step of getting myself before my Father (the instructor) is a big important step. I’ve got to get to His gym! I really like how Abram kept looking to his Father when he needed the next step and how in view of his Father’s kindness to him, he built an alter to acknowledge Him. He understood the importance of his relationship with Him and he thanked Him. The end result is that Abram ended up in real good shape in many ways because he took the steps His Father showed to him and he sought out a relationship with his Father! So I’m seeking to follow Abram’s example in taking the steps my Father shows me today and each day ’cuz I want to end up in good shape in many ways, too. I wanna be a gal with just the right moves. Speakiing of that, my next step is to move on in this day, seeking my Father for what’s next. Bless ya’s!
Good Thursday morning to you! Our Father is showing me His muscles today in His Word and we are talking about having a “He-man attitude.” I don’t know if you, like me, find yourself sometimes saying “I” can…. or “I” can’t….but I’m seeing this morning that the trouble with that is that when I do so, I’m trusting and looking to myself to do something. What my attitude needs to be is that of a “He-man” which is that through He (Christ), I can do all things because He is the One who by His grace is going to give me His strength, who gives me His wisdom, who gives me His gifts, His resources, His talents, His skills to carry out His plans and purposes for me. I’m considering these thoughts: To say “I” can’t could be to say I don’t trust Him to enable me. He can and will act to carry out His plans or purposes for me for where I’m supposed to be and when. To say “I” do something well is to steal His glory because apart from Him, I can do nothing. The right attitude is a “He-man” attitude – a partnership between Him and me that trusts Him to give me the grace to will and act according to His good purpose and to conform me or shape me into His image. His Word says ”he who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be kept safe.” Security and safety is found in His wisdom, in Him and not in self-sufficiency. There are many books in the world written about self-help, but the only True one is the Bible that is “the source” to truly help someone. One of the great Truths it teaches is that just the way He created you and me has already made us great without our even trying. That thought just makes me feel so strong and desiring to step out and let Him flex His muscles in me as He desires - to be an amazing ”He-man.” Wow! With Him, life’s going to be a great work out, no doubt about it!
Pr 28:26; Ro 8:28-29; 1 Co 1:25; Php 2:13, 4:13; Col 1:9-12; Jer 29:11; Jas 4:15; Heb 13:20-21; Jn 15:1-17; Ps 139:14
Well, we made it through Friday and it is Saturday. I hope you can find some time after a busy week to have “sat in yer day”! We all need a little rest at times. Today in Dad’s Word, it is the end of day, evening has come and Jesus, along with the Twelve have arrived at the place Jesus asked the disciples to secure and prepare for their celebration of the Passover meal. They are finally there and it is for these moments that the disciples have worked hard for, knowing it had special purpose. I’m sure they all looked forward to this time of gathering in relaxation with their beloved Jesus with much delight and enthusiasm! While they were reclining at the table, Jesus decided to have a little “heart to heart” talk. He began by saying “I tell you the Truth.” Truth is a good thing and it definitely needs to have some love mixed with it. Jesus then said something like “one of ya will betray me – one who is eating with me.” I can imagine the disciples struggling not to choke on the mouthful of those Words. Wow! I can imagine them thinking “but we are family, why would one of us do that?” What painful Words these must have been for Jesus to speak as I’m sure He loved each of these Twelve deeply and let’s face it, it hurts when someone you love deeply betrays you. What we all desire is unfailing love. He may very well have thought at this moment of the Words of Ps 41:9 that says “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shares my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” The Words Jesus spoke prompted great curiosity amongst the disciples and one by one they all said “Surely not I?” We know from our study a few days ago that the one who betrayed Jesus was Judas. As one by one each of the disciples said “surely not I”, some were saying it with what seems a lack of self confidence, not knowing their fault and being fearful of sinning. However, there was one whom Jesus had identified that said “surely, not I” with a hypocritical attitude of mind, knowing he was himself working to betray Jesus. Judas had opportunity here that he could’ve reversed the sin in his life and changed his life for the better, but he chose to taste the wages of sin (death). Sin has its price and that is one of the points that Jesus is wanting to make as part of this not so great dinner conversation. He then went on to tell them in so many words that He was the Passover Lamb of God, who was without spot or blemish (personal sin) and whose body would be broken and whose blood would be spilled so that the Angel of the Lord would “Passover” the sins of betrayal that all of mankind would commit towards Him because all fall short of the glory of God. So in essence, Jesus took what was hard to swallow and He turned it into a real celebration through His love! What Jesus was really saying in all of this is like “all mankind has betrayed me – one by one and yet, I have loved you all enough to die for you – to give my body to be broken and my blood to be spilled that you can be forgiven, your sins to be remembered no more! Today when we take the cup of wine that symbolizes His shed blood and we eat of the bread that symbolizes His broken body during church services, it is beyond tradition, it is honoring an ongoing request by Jesus that says like “When you eat of the bread and drink of the cup, please remember that I love you and I’m laying down my life for you. Please remember my sacrifice for you, embrace me with faith and anticipate or look forward to my glorious return. To that I say “Whoohoo, whoohoo and more whoohoo!” All of this just makes me want to sing a little song: Oh, happy Day! Oh, happy Day! When Jesus washed, when Jesus washed, He washed my sins away! Oh, happy Day! I’m looking forward to a future wedding supper with the Lamb of God – Jesus. I know it will be a very special time, for a special purpose and a real celebration! Preparations are being made now and I so look forward to that glorious day of His return. I hope this is one glorious day for ya’s as we wait! God bless ~ Sheila
Mk 14:17-26; Ps 41:9; Pr 19:22;Ro 3:23; Jn 3:16; Rev 19:9
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
Well, the sun has risen once again and the Son has risen as well and has departed from His hometown. Today we find Him and His disciples going from village to village teaching. Jesus has decided to send the disciples out two by two and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits. How would you like to have that job? Yikes!!! Doing battle with the enemy could be challenging. It’s a good thing that Dad gave them authority over Satan. Oh happy day for the people set free from him! Jesus gave the disciples the instructions to take nothing except a staff, to wear sandals, not to take an extra tunic and to stay at whichever house they enter until they leave that town. He said if a place did not welcome them or listen to them, to shake the dust off their feet when they leave as a testimony against them. All they had were the clothes on their backs and a walking stick. This would make life simple in that they didn’t have stuff to worry about taking care of and traveling was light and the disciples needed that. It was also a place where dependence on our Dad was necessary. Abundance is given to some to share, but Dad likes us to need Him and likes to reveal His glory to us kids as we seek Him to provide for our needs. It is a sad day when His children have the mindset they don’t need Him. Going into the homes of others was easier for the disciples without stuff. Can you imagine if they came with a Donkey-Haul full. “Ok, I’m moving in with ya – here’s my stuff! Where shall I put it? Mind if I just set your stuff outside to make room?” Dad told them to stay in the same place until they left the town. Dad didn’t want them to impose on the hospitality of many people or accept more attractive offers once they were settled. That Dad of ours is sure a good thinker! I’m learning more and more that He has real good reasons for what He says to us kids. It is a good thing to trust Him! Jesus also told the disciples to expect rejection and if it happens to shake the dust off of their feet. Devout Jews did this when they left Gentile territory to show they were disassociating themselves from it. The disciples were to do this as a testimony against the citizens. It warned them that the disciples’ responsibility to them was fulfilled and those who rejected the message would have to answer to God for themselves. It may have provoked serious thought and repentance by some. So the disciples did as Jesus asked of them as His representatives. They preached repentance to people – the importance of turning away from sin and going in the opposite direction from it to holiness like God. They drove out demons, anointed people with oil and healed them. They were da men with Dad in them. Amen? In seeing their faithfulness, I’m asking “Dad, as your representative, what do ya want me to do for ya?” “Am I supposed to be one of those to help your saints?” “I’m trusting ya to help me, too!” Mk 6:6b-13; Php 4:10-20; Lk 12:22-34; 2 Pe 3:8-9; Pr 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
It can be simple and complicated at the same time. By God’s own design we are created in such a way as to be able to put our trust in Him. That part of the puzzle is pretty clear, and when we look at it from the proper perspective, it’s also pretty simple. But to learn to bring all our faculties into line and to actually put our entire trust in the Lord goes against the nature of the flesh and thereby becomes one of the great challenges of our lives. But the writer of Proverbs encourages us to do something that is absolutely do-able for born-again believers. In fact, to activate our trust in the Lord it just takes a simple decision by faith to begin the process. The problem is that we learn too early in life to put our trust in other things. And whatever those things are, they are sure to fail somewhere down the road. So for most it requires a total reversal of what our culture has taught us. That makes it much harder than it should be. God, in His infinite wisdom, has created us in such a way as to give us the final say in the matter. We’re free moral agents as the religious experts classify us. That just means that even though God has a ‘perfect plan’ for our lives, we must make the choice, or choices as it turns out to be in the final analysis, to participate in that plan. When we come to the Lord through salvation we should choose to engage with “all our heart”. It can happen that way, and at that point, but I believe in most cases it is worked out in an ongoing process that starts at the point of salvation and lasts for the rest of our lives. We learn as we go through varying circumstances in life that God is real and that He never mishandles our trust, as we place it in Him.
We are also encouraged by the above Scripture to “lean not on our own understanding”. That’s a pretty challenging concept. Sounds simple but when we set to the task we find that it’s harder than it sounds. We gain knowledge, understanding and experience as we live out our lives. If we’re not careful we will put our trust in our own abilities and in our own resources. But the adventurous walk of faith that the Father has destined us to experience can only be successfully achieved by putting our entire trust in Him. We should engage in the simplicity of this verse at face value. And when we do that, “He will direct our paths”!