Completeness! Thank you Jesus.

Complete-in-ChristBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been made complete in Christ.   Colossians 2:10 “So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”   My understanding of this is that all God’s purposes for our lives are made complete in Christ.  2 Corinthians 1:20 “ For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”  Knowing that we can be who God wants us to be because of Christ’s work on the cross, we can consider ourselves complete in His power.   We have assurances from God’s Word that our completeness in Christ is made possible by His Holy Spirit within us and through the leading of His Spirit we will be made more and more like Jesus.  

Here are some verses to encourage you as you walk with Jesus each day and seek be to complete in Him:   2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”   God’s Word teaches, corrects and trains us so we can do His good works.  Seeking completeness?  Stay in God’s Word so He can equip you!         

James 1:2-4 “Count 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.   God wants us to face trials with joy as they will hone and perfect our character to be more like Jesus.  Do you feel your character is sagging or you are growing apathetic?  Endeavor to see your trials and tests as opportunities to build your character and allowed by God to grow you up in Christ.       

joy in Christ1 John 1:3-4  “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our  joy may be complete.”   John wanted us, as believers, to rejoice in Christ as fellow-shipping with the Father and Son brings complete joy to us and our fellow believers!  Do you consider yourself a joyful ChristianIf not, seek to know Christ better and fellowship with positive spirit-filled Christians.  Their joy for Christ will be contagious!

Linda

Suggestion:  Choose one of God’s completeness strengtheners from scripture and praise God for the completeness you feel!

  • Choose a portion of God’s Word to read each day this week. (Psalm 31, 37 or 103 are my personal favorites)
  • If you have a particular trial coming up this week, endeavor to count it joy and praise God for the opportunity.
  • Seek out a fellow Christian(s) and praise God together in song or prayer.

2nd Sunday of Lent, God’s Sovereignty challenges us to see God in everything!

On Sunday’s during Lent, I desire to focus on praising God.  Pondering the Sovereignty of God this morning brought me to my knees as I considered all that God controls, directs, His kept promises and those in the future He will keep, and the fact that nothing surprises God or catches him off guard.  He is ever vigilant and none of His plans can be derailed or thwarted.  The Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk, offered a prayer to God in Habakkuk 3.   Let his words of praise and awe wash over you and seep into your soul.  Cling to the sovereignty of God in all your experiences in life and trust Him, the one who knows all, sees all and determines all by His power.  Habakkuk 3:2-4, 17-19

Habakkuk 3 2I have heard all about you, Lord.
    I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
In this time of our deep need,
    help us again as you did in years gone by.
And in your anger,
    remember your mercy.

I see God…
His brilliant splendor fills the heavens,
    and the earth is filled with his praise.
His coming is as brilliant as the sunrise.
    Rays of light flash from his hands,
    where his awesome power is hidden.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,sproul
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
    He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    able to tread upon the heights.

Praise Him today for His Sovereignty and trust all that you have and are into His care.

Linda

In-Gods-HandsSuggestion (it’s a challenge):   Knowing that God is sovereign and depending upon God’s sovereignty are vastly different.  Think of something that is coming up for you today or this next week.  Determine now to release that item to God and depend upon and seek His sovereignty over all parts of this task.   Do your part in preparing for the event, but release the outcome to God.  No worrying allowed as you depend solely on His sovereignty. and for God to bring this work to completion for your good and His glory.  Let go and let God!

Enjoy this beautiful song about God’s Sovereignty.

Are you seeing His Fruit?

HS fruitsBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have the Holy Spirit living within me. Scripture is filled with references to His indwelling Holy Spirit. We receive His Holy Spirit when we believe in Jesus.  It is His Holy Spirit within us that gives us hope, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  These are called the fruits of His Spirit living within us.  When we see these character traits being manifested in our lives, we know He is at work within us.

Here are some assurances from God’s Word about this amazing Holy Spirit that lives within each believer:  Ephesians 3:16 “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”  His Spirit with gives us power for living!     2 Corinthians 1:22 “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”  His Spirit is a seal and guarantee of our salvation in JesusGalatians 4:6 “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  His Spirit declares our sonship and allows us to call God our Father or Daddy.    1 John 4:13 “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”  His Spirit helps us to stay connected to Jesus.   Romans 8:11 “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”   His Spirit gives us a His spirit to be with us forever.

1 John 4 13Belief in Jesus and His work on the cross brings the Holy Spirit into our lives.  Rejoice in that hope today and look for His indwelling work within you.  He is there-alive and working in you!  He gives us the power to resist sin, stay connected to the Father and guarantees results.  His fruit is eternal and always for our good and His glory!

Linda

HS pearSuggestionToday- look for His fruit in your lifepeace where you might not have thought, patience where you usually would be impatient, joy where you did not expect it, a reaction to a situation with kindness, a deed unexpectedly done, a gentle touch or word to another, a trust in God that is unexpected but natural, showing self-restraint exactly when it is called for- any of these are the working of the Holy Spirit within you.  Rejoice and give Glory to God.

Where do you need hope? Jesus has it.

hope as long asBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have hope.  One of the most precious things we possess in Christ is our eternal hope in God and His power to transform and use us to do His work.   Romans 5:1-2 gives us a list of God’s provision that results in hope for us.  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith (declared not guilt of our sins), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  Our hope in Jesus brings us freedom from sin’s guilt and punishment, peace, grace, and joy.  Oh! glorious 1 peter 1 21HOPE!   This same theme is repeated in 1 Peter 1:21 “Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.”   Because of Christ and His work on the cross,  we can know and trust God and our faith in Christ brings Him glory and us HOPE!

Where do you need the HOPE of Christ in your life today?  Are you feeling burdened by sin’s guilt? Give it to Jesus with a repentant heart and He will replace that guilt with hope.  Are you struggling with doubt or difficult circumstances? Give it to Jesus and He will replace it with peace which He gives freely bringing you hope. (John 14:27) Are you struggling as you feel alone or singled out?  Ponder God’s grace, His undeserved favor, and know that He promises His grace is sufficient for all our needs. (2 Corinthians 12:9) His grace will bring you hope.  Are you suffering from lack of joy?  Ask Jesus to restore the joy of your salvation and those thoughts of eternal rest and refuge with Him will bring you joy.     David knew the struggles of life and reminds us in Psalm 43:5              hope_in_god_by_blugi-d90ilc0 “Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
 I will praise him again
   my Savior and my God!

May you Hope abound as you put your trust in God and firmly place your gaze upon Jesus.

Linda

SuggestionPass on the hope of Jesus todayforgive someone you have been holding something against, be a voice of peace, calm or joy to someone, or be gracious to someone today (giving them undeserved favor in your eyes).  The look of hope you see in their eyes will bring joy to you and give God glory.

“Stand with me bro” I need you by my side.

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have brothers and sisters in Christ.  Jesus speaks of His family of faith and calls us His brothers, sisters and Bro and sis familymother in Matthew 12:48-50. ” 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”    Jesus’ earthly family had come looking for Him and this was His reply.   Those who believe in Jesus and strive to follow God’s Word are considered family by Jesus.   What a privileged position this is!  Not only are we linked to Jesus but we share a family position with all believers who know Him as Lord and seek to follow His ways.  

This family bond is something very special.  I have sisters in Christ that I see infrequently as our paths in life have taken different directions.  It is amazing to me that when we meet it is as if we were never apart.  That instant bond is there and we see love, trust and hope in being with each other.  When a brother or sister leaves, it is always with the hope of seeing them again either here on earth or in heaven.  The constancy of the bond of fellowship is always present and binds us in love.

Here are a few scriptures about brothers and sisters in Christ and how we are to work together:  Romans 15:30 “I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,”  We are to pray and strive together to do God’s will.    1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  We are to stand together firmly as we work for the Lord with hope.    Philippians 4:1 “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.”  We have a shared love in Christ and a desire to stand firmly for Christ.    2 Thessalonians 3:13 “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”   We are to work together to do good in the name of Christ.

What a great comfort and encouragement it is that we have brothers and sisters in faith that we can stand with in our shared love for Christ and work together to accomplish His purposes.

Linda

bro and sis in ChristSuggestionTell one of your brothers or sisters in Christ how you appreciate their prayers on your behalf or how you love standing and working with them or how much you love and appreciate them or how much it means to you to have someone to share in the good work of Jesus or all of the above!  A kind work of appreciation brings glory to God as He works within us.

Dearly Loved, that’s me!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the Father’s love.  Knowing you are loved gives power, affirmation, hope and joy.  Knowing you are love by God the Father fills us with confidence, hope, security, and comfort.  Scripture speaks frequently of God’s love for us.  Jesus was talking to the disciples about God’s love and his imminent return to the Father shortly before His death in  John 16:27-28. “For the Father You-are-dearly-loved-facehimself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God. 28 Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father.” Jesus said I am dearly loved by God because of my love for Him God loves that I love Jesus! When you think about one of your  loved ones, aren’t there things you really love about them.  Maybe it is the way they smile, maybe that they always hug you so tightly or say loving things to you for no reason except that they love you.  This little portion of scripture gives us a glimpse into God’s character and love.  He loves us dearly- not a little bit of love but a special love that is close to His heart.  The motivation for this dear love is because I love His son.  Isn’t that like a good Father?  As earthly mothers and fathers, we love the kids that love our kids.  We cherish them and want our kids to associate with them.  Being a good Father, God loves and cherishes us with a special love because we love Jesus.   What a privileged and heart warming thought to ponder today!

I love JesusLinda

Suggestion:  Think about your love for Jesus.  How has He brought you to faith, and provided you with hope, joy, security and comfort.  Know that the things you love about Jesus makes God the Father love you even more.

 

I have the keys to a home in heaven. Thank you Jesus.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a place in heaven.  I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my eternal home in heaven because I’m usually so preoccupied with life in the here and now that it seems distant.  However, the older I get the more I have pondered what this home will be like and who will be there with me.  I realize now the urgency for telling others about Jesus and His saving power, so that they will not be left behind.

Today’s scripture comes from John 14.  It is a familiar passage about the home Jesus is preparing for us and gives us great hope.  I like the extra meaning the Amplified version John-14-2gives John 14:1-4 ““Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe[confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me.In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you.And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and I will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.And [to the place] where I am going, you know the way.”   We are not to be afraid because through faith in Jesus we know that He is preparing our eternal home and that He will come get us when the time is right.  

Another passage in Ephesians reassures us that through faith in Jesus and because of God’s great love for us, we will be seated with Christ.  It is truly by God’s grace, His unmerited favor, that He made such a place for us,  as we did nothing to earn the riches we will receive.  Ephesians 2-4 Rich In MercyEphesians 2:4-7 “ But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

In our eternal home will have a place of honor that is prepared for us by Christ himself, and we will be with Him for eternity.  My finite mind can only try to imagine such provision, but I know I only need to believe in Jesus and His saving work on the cross for it to be mine.

Linda

Suggestion:  Give some thought to heaven today and make a list of at least 5 things you know about it.  Need some help- read Revelation 21 or go back and reread today’s passages.  They are filled with promises about our heavenly home.  Hint- one of my favorites is Revelation 21:4

 

Given by Christ, Righteousness. Thank you Jesus.

christ my righteousnessBecause Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have Christ’s righteousness.  Christ was a man while on earth, pure, holy, without sin, filled with integrity, virtuous in behavior, humble and the list could continue.  Most importantly He was sinless and therefore in right standing with God the Father.  God cannot look upon sin so unless we are pure and holy we cannot be in a relationship with Him.  By saying, “I have Christ’s righteousness” I am proclaiming that I am in right standing with God.  I can know and communicate with Holy God.  Romans 5:19 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 explain how this happened for us through Christ’s work on the cross. Romans 5:19 “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners (that was Adam), so also through the obedience of the one man (Christ) the many will be made righteous.”  2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Through faith in Christ, I can have His Righteousness and come into a relationship with Almighty God.  Without Christ, we have no way get rid of our sin. We can never do enough good works.  We can never clean ourselves up enough to come before God.  Ephesians 2:8-9 puts it this way,For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  What a precious gift Christ’s righteousness is to me!

How do we process this for Lent?  Recognizing that our position before God is totally dependent upon Jesus and His redeeming work on the cross and resurrection from the dead should give us pause and create in us a sense of gratitude and humility.

Prayer:  Thank you Jesus that through faith in  your work on the cross I am able to come before You in prayer, study Your word with understanding and be indwelt by your Holy Spirit.  Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice on my behalf.  Amen.

Linda

the-willing-spirit-can-do-good-deeds-by-grace-quote-1Suggestion for today: Pray David’s prayer from Psalm 51: 10,12               Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.                                                   Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Sometime today, instead of taking credit for something good you are doing or did – give the praise to God.  Have a willing spirit that desires to please Him. Acknowledge Him with your thoughts- He knows your heart and spirit.

1st Sunday of Lent

Lenten Sunday’s are a time apart to get recharged and worship our Savior.  These last weeks I have been studying King David’s life and was brought to my knees by Psalm 51.  David wrote this psalm after his great sin with Bathsheba and the ordering of the death of Uriah, her husband.  David’s confession is real, heartfelt and gives us hope that God can indeed forgive all our sins and restore us.   Be restored and seek God’s forgiveness as you meditate.  Psalm 51: 1-4, 10-12, 17

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
wash awayWash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.

psalm 51 10David acknowledges his sin and knows God can forgive and wash him clean.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

David knows God can restore, renew and bring joy where there was sorrow over sin.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

David’s humbly offers God is his broken and sorrowful heart.

Prayer:  May it be so with me too.  Forgive my sins and create in me a new restored, resolved and committed heart to serve you.   Amen.

praise Lord peanutsLinda

Suggestion:  attend a worship service really focusing on the praise and worship of God,  so that you can soak in His restoring power.

Do you have what it takes to survive Lent?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a spirit of power, love and self-discipline in my life.  When you begin something new it takes time for your mind, body and spirit to accept your new commitment.  You often doubt you have the resolve to see it through.  However, God’s Word tell us that when we accept Jesus as our Savior and His Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts and minds, we have a new type of power living within us.  2 Timothy 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”   

2 Timothy 1 7Today thank God for the spirit of power He has put within you, for the love you have for yourself and others and the self-discipline to see things through.  We are not to be timid and shy away from difficult commitments but bold and filled with His Holy Spirit to contend with the world and the challenges it presents to us each day.  Take heart from Revelation 21:7 “He who overcomes [the world by adhering faithfully to Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior] will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.”

Linda

Suggestion:  work on your self-discipline today as you continue with the self-denial you chose on Ash Wednesday. Today will be easier than yesterday.  Watch your self-discipline grow daily as we journey through Lent.