Blessings, what are they?

I have had a very hard week but feel blessed by God.  That started me thinking about blessings and where scripture tells us we are blessed.  What does blessing look like to God?  First, I wanted to start with a definition of blessing.  The dictionary says: a gift of divine favor, good wishes or approval, anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune.   I can see my week’s events were a blessing as God granted me divine favor and prevented severe misfortune.

Psalm 1 is a great place to start looking at blessings or being blessed.  This psalm describes the way of the believer and the blessings that way brings.

blessed is the manBlessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

The blessed man doesn’t seriously listen to the advice of unbelievers, do the things they do or make fun of godly things.  The blessed man loves God’s Word and thinks about it all the time.  He is deeply rooted by God and shows growth in both his faith and his life.  He prospers in all he does.   The psalmist contrasts this picture of one who loves God with the unbeliever.

The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

Unbelievers are tossed to and fro with the ideas of the world. They are not grounded in God’s Word and faith in Him so they will perish.

As you meditate today, think about your life and ask yourself, Am I like the blessed man?  Do I hunger after God’s Word and think about it a lot?  Am I deeply rooted in God’s Word, and am I standing firm in faith where ever God has me?  If your answers are yes, you are on you way towards blessingsBeing in God’s Word and walking in God’s way gives happiness and guides us away from misfortune.  Even if we go through hard times Jesus is with us. Therefore, by definition we are blessed!

willienelson1Count your blessings today as you strive to walk with Him in His way,

Linda 

A Struggler’s Confession

I have struggled these first few weeks of January as it seems I can’t get things to run smoothly.  Yesterday I sought solace in God’s Word and Job 42:1-6 brought me comfort.  I was touched by the Message version.

42 1-6 Job answered God:

“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.             I’m comforted by God’s 
Nothing and no one can upset your plans.                                              Sovereignty.
You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
    ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
made small talk about wonders way over my head.            I’m talking and not 
You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.                                listening.
    Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!          I do know you!
I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
    I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”

As I read this passage, I identified with Job.  I too question God’s wisdom and His perfect plan.  I forget that He alone is Sovereign.  I tend to run on about things and not take time to listen to Him in prayer and in the Word.  Thankfully, I do know Him and have experienced God first hand in my life.  I know He is truth and He will fill me with His love and mercy if I turn to Him.

Prayer:  Father, I do know you and trust in your plans for me.  I know who you are and of your love and grace.  You do not do to me what I deserve but shower me with grace and mercy.  Thank you Jesus for loving me and keeping me in the palm of your hand. You shield and comfort me in hard times.  You bring me joy and hope everlasting day after day.  Create in me a clean heart that is focused upon you and not the swirling world around me.  Help me, like Job, to cling to you and your truth with a repentant heart.  Amen.

job 42 2Have a blessed day living in the light provided and protected by Sovereign, Almighty God.

Linda

Live Like you Believe in God’s Love and Mercy

The first few weeks of January I write about goals, motivation, change, etc.  This morning God has laid on my heart the idea of rising up and going.  That may sound weird,  but where do you get your get up and go?  What makes you want to get up in the morning and pursue your day?  For the believer, it is partly motivated by their understanding that God has a purpose for each day.  I love Lamentations 3:22-24 and here it is from the Message, which lamentation 3 22-24may bring new meaning to these verses for you,  God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.  They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).  He’s all I’ve got left.”  Knowing that God’s love and mercy are new each morning gives us hope and the ability to start a new day. 

Another motivation for the believer can be taken from Acts 3:6-8 when Peter healed the man that had been lame from birth at the Beautiful Gate in Jerusalem.   But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.”  Then look what happened in verse 8 “And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.”   How about you?  Has Jesus healed you in mind, body or spirit?  What is your life’s reaction to that healing?  Are you leaping and walking and praising God in your life?  Today is the day to begin!

rise up and walkEach day, each year are new opportunities for us to walk, talk and live praising God.  Let’s determine today to live that way.  Put a smile on your face and live like you mean it because you know that God loves you, has mercies ready for you and wants to hear your praise as you journey through this day.  

Walk with Him towards a day of blessing,

Linda

Unchanging God Holds us Steady

How do you do with change?  Making resolutions for change are very common this time of year.   It is a hope within us that with a new year we can have a new beginning,  a redo, or a fresh start.  Psalm 102:25-28 came to mind as a place to reflect on change.     “Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
psalm 102 2626 They will perish, but you will remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
27     but you are the same, and your years have no end.
28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
    their offspring shall be established before you.”   

We can rest assured that God’s plans for you and me have not changed since the foundation of the world.  Psalm 33:11 “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”   Our heart attitudes, desires, plans and schemes change from year to year but God is unchanging.  Knowing that God does not change His plans, love, mercy, compassion, guidance, help…in the ever changing world that surrounds us gives us hope.   

It is good to plan and try to incorporate change into our lives like spending more time in prayer, studying and reading God’s Word, exercising, eating healthy, spending more time with family, working on projects to help others, etc.   All of those can be good things to help us reach a world in great need of a Savior.  Ponder these words from Proverbs 19:20, 21 and 23 today as you pray about plans and change in the New Year.

Listen to advice and accept discipline,
    and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

23 The fear of the Lord leads to life;

    then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

god-has-a-plan-and-purpose-for-your-story.-trust-him-many-are-the-plans-in-a-persons-heart-but-it-is-the-lords-purpose-that-prevails.-proverbs-19-27May God bless you today with a renewed spirit of love and devotion to our unchanging God.

Linda

What’s in a Word?

Have you ever thought of having a Word for the year?  I had not done this until last year.  I was asked to choose a word for the year and then a Bible verse or verses to support me in that focus.  I prayed and asked God to give me a word to focus upon for 2018 and He gave me Hope.  I was amazed at how many times this word appeared in my study, my thoughts, my writing, etc.  Each time it would reassure me of His Hope that is within me and how all my hope is in Christ.  There were various verses I relied upon and you’d be amazed at how many times they appeared in my daily walk.   I did not focus on hope until spring as something I was doing required that I choose a word for the year.  Interestingly enough, God already had prepared me as my January 1 blog used Lamentations 3:21-22 which focused on hope.   I also used Jeremiah 29:11 and 1 Peter 3:15.    For 2019, I have chosen Trust as my word.  Right now I’m going through some things that required that I Trust in Him more than ever and not the world, things or people around me.  The verses I’ve chosen are Psalm 37:5 and Nahum 1:7. 

gods-word-personal2If you think this might help your focus for the year, pray and ask God to reveal to you a focus word for 2019.  Here are some suggestions and possible verses to support your word:

Joy- Psalm 16:11, Psalm 63:7, Habakkuk 3:18 or James 1:2

Hope–  Psalm 62:5, Psalm 147:11, Jeremiah 29:11, Lamentations 3:21-22, Romans 5:4-5 or 1 Timothy 4:10

Trust- Psalm 28:7, Psalm 31:14, Psalm 37:5, Proverbs 3:5-6 or  Jeremiah 17:7

Grace– John 1:16-17, Romans 3:24, 2 Corinthians 12:9, or Ephesians 1:7

Peace- Isaiah 26:3, Matthew 5:9, John 14:27 or Philippians 4:7.

god-ideas_guide-delightGod,  in His great providence, gives us so many resources to help us walk with Him in faith.  All His words,  we are reminded in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 are useful to us. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  I pray that choosing a word will give you focus and support in the year ahead.  We desire to live for Him and as we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

May you have a blessed year filled with His Words!

Linda

A New Spirit for the New Year

102685840-happy-new-year-2019-poster-templateHappy New Year!  I can’t believe 2018 is done and we are ready to embark on 2019.  At this time of year we wonder what the year will bring- changes in places, people, relationships and even jobs.  It is a good time to take a closer look at our relationship with God and reevaluate our commitment and devotion to Him.  God never changes.  Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”   Psalm 33:11, “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”  James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  These are just a few verses that reassure us that God is immutable and never changes.  Knowing that fact about God, we can look more closely at ourselves, our attitudes and actions. 

How do I remain faithful to a faithful God?   God reassured the children of Israel when they were taken into captivity in Babylon that He would be their sanctuary.  He alone would hold them steady in faith.  Ezekiel 11:19 “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,”   God promises to put a new spirit within us and remove our heart of stone- attitudes of rebellion, faithlessness, unbelief, despair, rejection….   God can and will remove those from you and give you a NEW SPIRIT for the New Year.   He will give you a heart that is loving, compassionate, believing, and filled in christ alonewith hope.   How do you get this new heart and spirit?  In Christ alone our hope is found.  1 John 5:11-12 describe our hope. “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  Belief in Jesus, commitment to Him in gratitude and service is a place to begin.  Repentance of past sins and asking forgiveness brings us to our knees and realigns our hearts with Him.

New Year new spiritCelebrate your life in Christ, your hope in Christ and be assured that God will give you a new heart and a new spirit to live triumphantly in Him this year!  2019 Bring it on!  We’re ready with a repentant heart looking to our Savior.

Linda

Praise and Thanksgiving on our lips today! Good-bye 2018!

On this last day of 2018, we conclude with the final chorus of the Messiah.  The scene is the throne room of heaven in John’s vision and Jesus is being praised and worshiped.  Revelation 5:9-13

And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of worthy-is-the-lambthousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

They begin by singing a new song. In the Old Testament, a new song was sung to celebrate and act of divine deliverance or blessing.  Here the creatures and angels are praising Jesus, the Lamb, who delivered all mankind through his blood.  Jesus is worthy to receive all power, wealth, wisdom, honor and blessing because of the ransom He paid with His blood on the cross.  All heaven and earth will praise Him!  What a glorious scene this will be.  Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, is Worthy of all Praise!

1 Thess 5 18And so… what a fitting way to end our year.  Let us praise our Savior and Redeemer.  Let your lips utter praise today for all this last year has brought both good and bad.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”   Ponder the difficulties you’ve had in your life this year  in G-R-I-Tlight of James 1:2-4Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Let us take the adversity we experienced and the blessings we received and offer them up to Jesus today as and offering of praise and thanksgiving.

Linda

The Conclusion of the Messiah

Need focus? Be encouraged today!

1 Corinthians 15 51This last Sunday of 2018 where is your focus?  Handel turns our thoughts to Christ’s return and the changes it will bring as he nears the completion of his work in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.  “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”  Wow! Now that will be a transformation!  In a nanosecond in time we will be changed as we hear the trumpet signaling Christ’s return.  We do not know when this will happen, but can be assured that it will happen just as Christ said.  1 Thessalonians 5:2 addresses the time of His return. “For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”  We don’t know the day or time so we need to be ever ready for His return.  John ends his vision in Revelation 22:20 with this hope.  “He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus!

Praise our Savior today as you worship!  Revel in all He has done and will do in the future for you and me.   As you look to 2019, pray for His return and stand with new hope and assurance that He will help you to overcome all obstacles that lie ahead.  Praise Him for the victory that will be yours in Christ as you seek to follow Him each new day.

Linda

Enjoy the music and lovely pictures.

My Redeemer Lives

During this Advent Season, I journeyed each day using Handel’s Messiah as my guide.  On Christmas Day I ended with the Hallelujah Chorus which seemed so fitting for the celebration of our Savior’s birth.  The third and last portion of the Messiah focuses on Christ’s return and reign.  I could not leave this wonderful piece without including a few more days in Part 3.    It begins with Job 19:25-26.  Job is in discussion with his friends who encourage suffering Job to curse and reject God.  Job however, relies upon God’s my redeemerejustice and speaks these words of encouragement to his friends that echo throughout the ages.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I shall see God,”

How has your year gone?  How did you face the trials that the year brought?  Did  you see time like Job as a journey that is led by hope in your Redeemer?  Or did you get bogged down in the daily struggle and lose sight of who was walking with you each day and who was there for you to lean upon?  Job had confidence that He served a living God that will someday reign on earth.  Even if he dies before this happens, he has the faith that he will live to see God.   Do you share that conviction with Job?  Peter shares our hope in Christ and echos Job’s conviction in 1 Peter 1:3-7.  Trials of life come but our hope remains steadfast in Christ.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Let’s end this year by turning our focus back upon God, claiming the assurance and  Hope of Job, that our Redeemer truly Lives!

Linda

A Christmas Hallelujah to You!

merry-christmas-john-1-16-550x320

It is fitting today we will conclude Advent with the Hallelujah Chorus.  Tradition calls for standing during this chorus but no one really knows the reason for this.  Some say it was when the King stood upon hearing this glorious chorus in 1743 at it’s premier because he was so moved.  When the king or queen stand, etiquette requires that everyone else stand and so the tradition continues to this day.  What ever the reason, the music is glorious and pays tribute to our God who Reigns forever.  The words were taken from Revelation 19:6, 11:15 and 19:16.  The facts of these verses are gloriously woven into this Chorus.

Blessings to you this Christmas and thanks for going with me on this journey through the Messiah.  I have seen prophesies that I had not realized before and heard them put to song in a marvelous way.  I pray it was a blessing to you and to our Savior.  I truly believe the sentiment of my Christmas Greeting given in John 1:16 “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”  We are blessed by His marvelous Grace each day.  Hallelujah and Merry Christmas!

Linda

Revelation 19:6 speaks of the glorious gathering to celebrate the lamb of God, Jesus and His bride the church.  Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God     the Almighty reigns.

Revelation 11:15 “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”  This kingdom rule was foretold in Zechariah 14:9   “And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.”

Revelation 19:16  “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

 

Christmas Blessings as you listen!