Are you sure God is listening?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have access to God in prayer.  The Bible is filled with believers’ prayers to God.  David, Job, Solomon, Daniel and the list goes on and on as they called upon God and were assured that He heard their prayers.  Jesus prayed and was heard by the Father and, he often sought a solitary place to spend time with His Father to gain strength and commune with Him.  Since Jesus died on the cross, believers have an internal connection through the Holy Spirit with Him.  Here are a few scripture for you to meditate upon today as you consider your prayer life and connection to Him.

Ephesians 2:13, 17-18 ”  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”   His Holy Spirit brings us near to Him, thank you Jesus!

ephesains 3 12Ephesian 3:12 “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”  We can seek Him boldly with confidence because of Jesus, thank you Jesus!

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  We can come before Him knowing He will treat us with grace and mercy, thank you Jesus!

Hebrews-7-25Hebrews 7:25 “ Therefore he is able to save completely, those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”  I can know that I am whole in Him and I am humbled by the truth that Jesus prays for me, thank you Jesus!

James 4:8a “Come near to God and he will come near to you. ”  Access to God is made possible by Jesus as His Holy Spirit helps draw us closer to Him, thank you Jesus!

Come-near-to-God-James-4-8-free-printable-thumb-I pray these verses assure you that as a believer you have access to God in prayer, can approach Him with confidence, know that Jesus will intercede for you before the Father and that He desires that we come and draw near to Him.  Pray boldly with confidence, Jesus is with you.

Linda

Suggestion:  pray today with confidence, assurance and hope that God will hear your prayers and draw near to you!  Then, live like you believe it!

 

Property of Jesus, that’s me!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been bought with a price and belong to God.  The concept that we belong to God gives me hope, assurance and confidence for living.  Someone, the greatest someone in the Universe, God, cares about me and loves me.  He loved me enough to sacrifice greatly on my behalf, by sending Jesus to redeem me.  1 Corinthians 6:19,20 ” Or do you not know that your JesusPropertybody is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”   When we accept Jesus as our Savior, His Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us.  Jesus died so that this transformation within us would be possible through faith in Him.  Paul is saying we owe a debt of gratitude for the amazing grace God bestowed upon us.  We need to treat our bodies- mind, soul and spirit with the upmost care as that saved body and spirit came at a high price.  What makes this so amazing is that Jesus did it freely with no obligation on our part.  We cannot earn it nor did we deserve it!  Humility and obedience are the way to honor God with our bodies in return for His grace to us.  He has a purpose and a plan for us that will bring peace, joy and hope to us and honor to Him.

Linda

Suggestion:  take time today to focus on a way to honor God in your mind (in prayer or holding thoughts captive to Christ), in your speech (words you say to others) and in action (with your body as you look to helping others).   Seek to glorify Him today!

Alive? Is this you in Christ?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been made alive in Christ. The aliveness we have in Christ effects us physically, mentally and spiritually. Paul describes this 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.” We did nothing to deserve this aliveness or quickening of our mind and body. God brought it to us through our faith in Jesus. God’s love, mercy and grace caused Him to send Jesus so we could be in relation with Him.

What is this aliveness we have in Christ? His spirit within us helps us to stand strong in the face of adversity. Ephesians 6:15 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Our standing is both physical and mental. 2 Corinthians 10:5 describes this mental duel. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”. The aliveness in Christ is also effects us spiritually. Romans 6:10-11 describes this “For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Being alive in Christ gives us the power to stand in Him and with Him. It gives us control over our mind and will to be obedient to Him. He gives us the ability to cast off and turn our backs on sin and walk away with Him!

Claim and proclaim your aliveness in Christ today!

Linda

Suggestion: ask Jesus to show you an area of His aliveness within you today.

What’s your fragrance like?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the aroma of Christ about me. Paul wanted the Ephesians, and us too, to think about the effect we have on others when we are around them. You can tell if someone bathes regularly, uses special soap or shampoo or is wearing a fragrance, but you can also smell one who does not bathe regularly, who ate garlic or onions recently or who is wearing an offensive fragrance. Paul says we have the ‘smell’ of Christ. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16a This is a sobering thought that to other believers or those who are open to Christ we the aroma of Christ. This aroma is pleasing to God and reminds them of life and brings knowledge of Christ to them. However, to the unbeliever the aroma of Christ and His presence in our life through His indwelling Holy Spirit smells of death, condemnation and judgement.

Today as we consider our presence in the lives of others, let us ask ourselves, Do I have the aroma of Christ about me? Can others smell His presence in my life? How strong or weak is my fragrance? If you think you are only fragrant enough for God to smell you, spend some time in His Word or in prayer or with other Christians or in worship or listening to Christian music. All of those will strengthen your fragrance towards God and others.

Linda

Suggestion: spend some time today in a fragrance a building activity- in the Word, prayer, worship, fellowship or listening to Christian music. Remember your presence speaks to others.

Love, where does it come from?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have love for others. Jesus was very emphatic that as Christians we are to show love for one another. First we are to love God then others. Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Jesus also spoke of loving others in John 15:12, 15 “My commandment is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” “This is my command:Love each other.”

Why is loving others so important? It shows we strive to be like Jesus. His character and love are perfect and He desires that we grow to reflect Him. Jesus said in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” What is this love supposed to look like? Romans 12:10 gives us direction. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Hebrews 10:24 tells us it is to be a continual thought in our minds, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.

Where does this loving and honoring attitude come from? Since Jesus commands it, when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior His spirit indwells us and empowers us for right living! Paul eloquently wrote to the Ephesians in 3:17b-19 “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Being filled with the love of Christ leads us into a life filled with love and good deeds towards others.

Linda

Suggestion: Ask God to send you someone special to love with His love today.

5th Sunday of Lent

Today as we go to worship let us think about Solomon’s words to the people of Israel. He knew who God is and what he has done!

“Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”

1 Kings 8:56-61

Be bold in living for a God this week knowing you can rely upon Him as He keeps all His promises. Not one of His promises will fail!

Linda

Suggestion: Claim one of God’s promises this week, review it daily and let the hope of a God’s Word work in your life. Here are a couple of suggestions: Lamentations 3:21-23, Philippians 4:19, James 4:7-8a, Deuteronomy 31:6, Psalm 37:5 or John 14:27

Living with Confidence, Thank you Jesus

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a life with a godly plan and purpose. This thought brings me great comfort as it means my existence has meaning and I am here for a reason. It also means God has intentions for my life and knowing that God is good means His intentions are always good for me, my life and my growth. Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse I claim frequently for reassurance when things seem bleak or unsettling in my life. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, ” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I can rest in knowing Sovereign God has a plan and purpose for me and it is all good!

Knowing God’s plan is good, we can cling to that promise in hard times as well as the promise in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Many say “life just happens” but this verse assures us that is not true. We can rest assured that God’s purpose and design is greater than anything Satan can throw at us. This verse promises God can use all things for our good. Many times we don’t see how at the moment, but God is faithful and eventually we may see how He uses even the very hard things in our lives to teach and grow us for His good.

One last verse for today: 2 Timothy 1:8b-9a “But join me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy life -not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” Paul knew that God had a purpose for him, a work that was divinely commissioned just for him and that God would empower him through Christ to do all He had set out for Paul to do. We can know that is true for us as believers, too.

When things are hard- claim any of these three verses in your life. Cling to them and know God is faithful and keeps all His promises.

Linda

Suggestion: Take time to reflect on a hard time or difficult relationship and see how God worked in the circumstances to bring you to a better place or to grow you. Claim one of the above verses over something you are facing and believe God for the results.

Declared Not Guilty in Christ

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been justified.  Justified is one of those theological words that float around with salvation, redemption and redeemed in our minds.  Scripture teaches that we are justified or declared ‘not justified galatinsguilty’ because of the work of Jesus on the crossRomans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”   We are sinners one and all and have no way of approaching God except through God’s grace and mercy shown to us in Jesus.  God sent Jesus to redeem us, pay the penalty for our sins, and declare us ‘not guilty’ before Him.  It is truly a magnificent gift!  

Romans 5 1-2Paul goes on to say in Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, 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.”  Being declared ‘not guilty’ brings peace and hope into our lives.  Paul went on to explain that justification in and through Christ is ours as a gift not something we ‘earn’ by good works or being good.  He told the Galatians in 2:16 “ yet we know that a person is not justified  by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”   

We can rest in our faith in Jesus that it is enough, totally sufficient, for redemption. It cannot be earned but is a free gift from Him.  Thank you Jesus!

Linda

Suggestion:  Think of someone that you need to forgive and just do it!  Pray and ask Jesus help you let go of bitterness, anger or hatred for this person.  Let it go in His name. See how free you feel.

Rescued and Redeemed for Eternity Thank you Jesus!

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been rescued from Satan’s domain and transferred into the kingdom of Christ.  These truths are stated by Paul in his letter to the Colossians.  He opens the letter with thanksgiving and prayer for the state that all believers find themselves in because of Christ.  Colossians 1:13 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.”  Our state of being before knowing Christ is one of eternal darkness and sin.  Romans 3:23 tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Our sin separates us from God and Jesus tell us that He is the light in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  Without Jesus we are dead in our sins and trapped in darkness.   Following Him bring us into the light, truth and knowledge of God.  Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, a man who was seeking to know if Jesus was the Messiah.  In John 3:5 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”  Jesus went on to explain we have 2 births.  The first is our physical birth given by our mothers and then our spiritual birth that is given by God’s Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Savior.  In John 3:16 Jesus tells Nicodemus why God sent him, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Eternal life in His kingdom is ours when we believe in Jesus.  He further explains the difference between His light and darkness of the world.   John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”   Jesus wanted Nicodemus and you and me, to know and understand that being apart from Him is darkness, sin and condemnation.  With Jesus there is light, love, hope and eternal life.  He has indeed rescued us from the domain of darkness ruled over by Satan and brought us into His light and His kingdom to be with Him forever.  His death on the cross and resurrection made this possible.  Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice on my behalf to rescue me from the fate of death and condemnation.

Linda

Suggestion:  Spend some time in prayer thanking Jesus for your salvation and eternal home with Him.  Remember in prayer someone you know who does not know Jesus and pray that they will come to know Him.We can be assured that Jesus wants everyone to know and come to Him.  2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow  in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Established, Anointed and Sealed- Thank you Jesus!

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have been established, anointed and sealed by God the Holy Spirit.   I put these all together as they are all stated in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22. “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”   First, Paul says we are established by God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 1-21  Other words used for established are stand firm in or to be confirmed in Christ.  The Holy Spirit within us enables us to join with Christ and stand with Him in faith.   Second Paul says,  we are anointed by God’s Holy Spirit.  This anointing empowers us with His Spirit and gives us gifts to work for Him. (Gal 5:22-23, “ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” In Old Testament times the Holy Spirit of God would come upon people to do certain tasks for a certain amount of time.  But since Jesus died and rose from the dead, believers now have His indwelling Spirit with us 24/7.  This indwelling starts the moment we accept Jesus as our Savior!  Believers are  anointed by God to live for Him and do His good work.   Lastly, Paul reminds us we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and His Spirit living 
2 Corinthians 1-22within us is a guarantee to our hearts that we are saved by Him and have an eternal future with Him.  When I do canning, I use heat to seal my jars to keep out polluting air and germs.  It keeps the contents fresh and usable for future time.  Likewise, the Holy Spirit is our protection from the sin-filled world around us and keeps us usable for His work now and into the future.  

Feel the joy today of being establish, anointed and sealed by God the Holy Spirit.

Linda

Thank-You-JesusSuggestion:  Remember a time when God helped you to stand firm for Him.  Remember your own coming to faith in Jesus and share it with someone if you can.  Thank Jesus that His Holy Spirit confirms you each and every day as belonging to Him!