2nd Sunday of Lent

doxologyAs I reflect on this past week’s devotions, I am reminded of Paul’s praise to God in Romans 11:33-36:

“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!                      For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?                    Who knows enough to give him advice?                And who has given  him so much that he needs to pay it back?                                           For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.”

As you ponder the greatness of God, think about what He has done for you with thanksgiving and praise:  Because I believe Christ died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead to life-  I am Justified (2/19), I am forgiven (2/20), I am holy and blameless before God (2/21), I am an ambassador for Christ (2/22), I am a temple in which God dwells 92/23) and I am tenderly loved by God (2/24).  Praise God for all He has done for us!!

romans 11 36Worshiping Him with praise and thanksgiving today,

Linda

I am loved by God.

Because I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am loved by God.  Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was motivated by God’s great love for me and you.  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”   Love was what caused God to come up with a plan to save us as He desires to be in relationship with mankind and have us live with Him eternally.

Jeremiah-31-3God repeatedly tell us in the Bible that He loves usJeremiah 31:3  The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:  “I have loved you with an everlasting love;  I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”   Paul describes God’s love for us in Ephesians 2:4-5  “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”  God saved us because He loved us and through His grace and mercy He sent Jesus.  

Cross-Poster-Red-MockupHow do you feel today?  Do you feel loved by God or are you letting the cares, worries and circumstances of life block God’s love? As you think about God’s love today, let your mind be transformed by the love of Christ.  He died for you and me.  Know that He loved us enough to die for us.  God loved us enough to send Jesus to bring us into a relationship with Him.  Know you are loved by God, and it cost Him dearly to show you His great LOVE!

Feeling cherished and loved by God,

Linda

I am a temple in which God dwells.

Because I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am a temple in which God dwells.   This is one of those mind stretching statements that believers often don’t stop to ponder.  We know we are alive and have a conscience and a spirit within us that makes us alive.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He sends His Holy Spirit to join with our spirit and live inside of us.  Why would He do that?   In the Old Testament times the Jews built a tabernacle at God’s direction as a place to worship God but also a place for God to dwell.  God instructed Moses in Exodus 25:8 “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst.”   God desires to live in our midst so He can guide and direct us into right living, but also so we can know and understand God and His ways more clearly.  1 Corinthians 2:11-12  “For who knows a person’s thoughts except Holy Spiritthe spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.   What an amazing gift God has given us in the indwelling Holy Spirit.  We can feel connected to God at all times, loved and cherished by Him, guided and protected.  I love Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”   We can know that we are God’s child because the Holy Spirit tells us so from within.

How does this fact affect you?  Paul tells us in Romans 8:9 that if we do not know Christ we do not have His Spirit within us. “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”  Having God’s Spirit living within us and helping us to grow in understanding of Him and His ways is the privilege of every believer.  Paul says we are not led by the flesh anymore but are in the Spirit. To know Christ is to have His Spirit indwell us.  Do you let this fact that the Holy Spirit lives within you guide your words and actions each day?  Or do you ignore the nudging of the Holy Spirit and determine to do your own thing be it godly or not?  God put His Holy Spirit within us to help us to be more and more like Jesus.  Is that you?

walk-in-the-spirit-logoPrayer:  Lord, thank you for your indwelling Holy Spirit.  Help me listen more carefully to you as I speak and interact with others.  Guide and protect me as I seek to be your light in a dark world.   In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Striving to walk in the Spirit each day,

Linda

I am an ambassador.

ambassadorsBecause I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am an ambassador for Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:20 “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”  What does being Christ’s ambassador mean to you?  I looked up the word ambassador and it is the highest ranking diplomatic representative appointed by a government to represent them in another country, a special representative.  Paul is referring to us as ambassadors as we represent Christ and His kingdom to the world.  The indwelt believer is indeed God’s mouthpiece, model and witness to a world that is desperately in need of a Savior.  As Christ’s ambassador we proclaim Jesus to the world and implore them to become right with God by claiming faith in Jesus.  We are the highest ranking person in God’s kingdom here on earth entrusted with this sacred duty.  When you consider your job or work in the kingdom, you can see that you, the believer, are the heart of His ministry to reach the lost world around us.  We are God’s Plan A!  We are the ones that non-believers see and view Christ though.  It is sobering to know that they judge God by what they see in our words, deeds and actions.  The way we live is important to our witness for Him.  Hebrews 13:18 reminds us that we need prayer to stand firm in Him.  “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.”  We need to pray for one another that our lives would reflect Jesus in all we say and do.

Hebrews 13 18As you go about today, thank Jesus for making you His ambassador.  It is a position of privilege and responsibility.  Know that He will provide you with everything you need to do His work in the world.

Privileged to be Christ’s Ambassador,

Linda

I am holy and blameless before God.

Because I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the deadI am holy and blameless before God.  The New Living Translation makes this point very clearly in Colossians 1:22 ” Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”   What a privileged position we are in before God because of what Christ did for us on the cross.  His blood has washed us clean so that we are without sin before God, pure, holy and without guilt.  Many of the old hymns talk about ‘there is power in the blood’.  The blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness. “But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

What now?  David wrote of being blameless and what that looks like in Psalm 15:1     “Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?  Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?  Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,  speaking the truth from sincere hearts.  Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends.”  Again he wrote in Psalm 18:31-33 “For who is God, but the Lord?  And who is a rock, except our God?— the God who equipped me with strength and made my  way blameless.   He made my feet like the feet of a deer  and set me secure on the heights. proverbs 11 20Solomon wrote in Proverbs 11:20 “The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse,  but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.”  Christ has made us blameless before God through our faith in His work on the cross, but walking daily with Him requires us to do what is right, speak the truth, be sincere of heart, refuse to gossip or speak harm to others.  God promises to equip us for this work and give us strength.  We will be secure in Him at all times.  Walking with Jesus, brings purity and holiness into our lives and pleases God.

I’ll end today with Jude 24-25.  May it resonate with you all day and help you as you strive to walk humbly with Jesus.  He did it all and then equips you to go out to show and tell others of His transforming power.  Jude 24 25Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,  to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen

Thankful for the transforming power of Christ,

Linda

I am forgiven!

Because I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am forgiven.  This is a basic truth in scripture that God can and does forgive sin through the work of Jesus on the cross.  Paul, writing to the Colossians, spoke of Father God and the work of God the Son in verses 1:11-14 “We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy,  always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.  For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,  who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”  God’s forgiveness of our sins is complete and eternal.  I love the way Micah 7:18-19 speaks of God’s power and total forgiveness.                                        forgiveness Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
    and passing over transgression
    for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
    because he delights in steadfast love.
19 He will again have compassion on us;
    he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
    into the depths of the sea.    God casts our sins into the depths of the sea to be remembered no more.  He isn’t going to drag them up later and hold them against us.  They are gone and buried.   Isaiah also speaks of God’s dealing with sin as he writes of Hezekiah’s experience with God’s forgiveness.  Isaiah 38:17 “Behold, it was for my welfare  that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction,  for you have cast all my sins behind your back.”  King Hezekiah knew God’s forgiveness was complete as he had evidenced God’s work in his life.           

leave it behindWhat about you?  Do you know the true forgiveness of God?  As believers in Jesus we know that the work of Jesus on the cross was enough for God and that we can and are fully and truly forgiven.  Sometimes I think I hold onto my sin and replay and remember my short comings and failures towards myself and others.  The holding on is Satan wanting me to feel inadequate and unforgiven.  God wants us to live as His children fully forgiven and restored by His Son.  Today as you meditate on God’s forgiveness seek to let go and let God transform you with His forgiving power. 

Thanking God for His total forgiveness,

Linda 

I am justified.

justifiedBecause I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am justified.  This year I have been studying Romans in Bible Study Fellowship and my pastor just finished a lengthy sermon series on Romans.  I am learning that being justified is a really big deal.  Why?  To be justified means to be declared ‘not guilty’ and to be acquitted of wrong doing or shown to be innocent. Because of our sin nature we are guilty before God and can do nothing to help ourselves.  We can’t do enough good works or be really good and earn enough ‘points’ to be declared worthy or clean before God.  All you have to do is look around you to see that people do wrong things all the time even when they don’t really mean or want to.  Romans 3:23, “ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” is pretty plain that all mankind are sinners.  However, let’s look at verse 24, “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”.   We are all sinners but saved by Jesus because He declares us ‘not guilty’ though His work on the cross.   It was a gift to us though His grace when we believed in Him.  We did nothing to deserve it.  Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”   Our faith in Jesus brings us into a relationship with God that is peace filled and free from the guilt and burden of our sin. justifed by graceMartin Luther declared many centuries ago that we are saved by grace alone, in Christ alone and by faith alone.  Christ did all the work to save us and justify us before God.

As I think about this, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  Jesus saved me from condemnation and declared me ‘not guilty’ before our heavenly Father.  I will no longer be subject to the penalty I really deserve for my sins which is eternal death.  I am also now open to God’s peace and can let it fill me each day as I rest in His eternal redemption. Praise God!  How about you?  Are you resting in Jesus?  Let this time of Lent be a time of peace filling as you praise Jesus for dying for you and declaring you Not Guilty before God.

Eternally grateful for His justification and peace,

Linda

1st Sunday of Lent

Just this week we learned with thankful hearts that:  I am a child of God, I am indwelt by His Holy Spirit and I am reconciled to God.  David knew he was loved by God, had a purpose to fulfill for Him and that God would send a Savior to save all mankind.  Read and reflect today on David’s words in Psalm 51.

shadow of His wingsPsalm 51  Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,  
    till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
    to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;     
    he will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!    

My soul is in the midst of lions;
    I lie down amid fiery beasts—
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
    whose tongues are sharp swords.

 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!

 They set a net for my steps;
    my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way,
    but they have fallen into it themselves. Selah
 My heart is steadfast, O God,
    my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
    Awake, my glory![b]
Awake, O harp and lyre!
    I will awake the dawn!
 psalm 57 10I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
    I will sing praises to you among the nations.
 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the clouds.

 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!

 

God is ever faithful to you and me just as He was to his servant David.  Praise Him today as you worship together.

Linda

 

I am reconciled. Praise and Thank you Jesus!

Because I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am reconciled to God.  To be reconciled means to be brought into a right relationship with someone that you had been in opposition to or opposed to for some reason.  The reason we were in opposition to God is because of our sin.  God is pure and holy and cannot have a relationship with anything that is unholy or sinful.  In Romans 5:10-11 Paul puts it this way,  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”   Through Jesus’ death on the cross he made it possible for us to be reconciled to God through faith in Him.  He returned us to a place of favor in God’s sight.  What a wonderful Savior we have in Jesus!

Romans 5-11 We Exalt In God Through Our Lord Jesus Christ goldDoes your life reflect the reconciliation made possible by Jesus? Do you cherish the relationship you have with God?  Do you seek to know Him through His Word and talk with Him each day in prayer?  It is an amazing fact that the God of the universe desires to have a relationship with you.  Thank you Jesus for making this possible.

Eternally grateful for Jesus’ work of reconciliation,

Linda

Living for Jesus, Empowered!

Because I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  That is a very powerful fact that permeates the life of every believer.  Paul was speaking to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 3:16,  who were arguing with one another.  He says, Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?”   Because we have God’s Holy Spirit inside of us, guiding and directing our hearts, we are to be loving and united in faith and purpose.   Romans 5:1-5 explains this in more detail.  Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.  We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  Paul makes it clear that we are made right with God through Jesus and that He loved us so much He gave us His Spirit to indwell us.   His Holy Spirit works from within- guiding, encouraging and giving us the power to live for Him each day.

theholyspiritPrayer:  Thank you Jesus for your work on the cross and your victory over death that makes it possible through faith for me to have your Spirit dwelling in my heart.   Without Your Holy Spirit I would  be powerless to live for You.  Thank you Jesus. Amen.

Eternally grateful that I am filled with His Spirit,

Linda