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

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

Seeing with Fresh Eyes

IMG_6001It has been a month since I posted my blogs to begin our New Year with HOPE. I pray you had a good beginning to 2018.  I had the privilege to travel to Thailand and Cambodia.  It was an amazing trip and God was faithful to teach me as I traveled.  I want to share a few reflections before we begin our Lenten journey on February 14th.

 

Psalm 34:1-3

I will praise the Lord at all times.
    I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
    let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
    let us exalt his name together.

David’s words convict me today.  I am so blessed and need to constantly give glory to God for His blessings in my life.  I see the less fortunate around me and need to constantly give encouragement and hope to others both physically and spiritually by sharing Jesus’ love with those I meet.  I am blessed to have a church home and fellowship groups filled with my brothers and sisters in Christ.  I need to have a heart for the lost and seek to support those who reach out beyond where I can physically go myself.

How about you?  Do David’s words speak to you today?  He tells us what He needs to do and what we can do together.  As you encounter others, do you speak with an attitude of praise towards God?  Do you give God praise for the big and little things He does for you each day?  Do you work with others to encourage those that are suffering and downtrodden with their lives?  Do you gather with others to praise God and lift His name on high?  David’s thoughts are convicting and encouraging as we seek to serve God right where we are.

IMG_5542
Lovely cultural dance performance in Siem Reap Cambodia

Visiting places in the world, outside of my familiar sphere, shake up my thoughts and help me to see others and their needs more clearly.  It helps me to see God’s love for the world in a new and fresh way.

 

Looking inward and outward in Christ,

Linda

 

 

 

 

Now let us turn our thoughts towards Lent, which begins on February 14th.  That will be a 6 week journey towards the cross and a time of repentance and reflection.

God’s Plan is my Hope

Well, we have survived the first week of 2018!  I hope the promises I suggested to strengthen and uplift you gave you a needed jump start to begin the New Year with a positive and encouraging outlook!

Lamentations 3:21-23  God’s mercies are new each morning and we can count on His faithfulness.    Isaiah 40:28-31 God does not grow weary and we will be lifted up by Him.    Deuteronomy 31:6  God will never leave us nor forsake us.      Zephaniah 3:17  God saves, quiets us with His love and rejoices over us.    Galatians 6:9-10  Keep on doing good and working to build up others especially our brothers and sisters in faith.    Isaiah 41:10  God promises to strengthen, help and uphold us through Jesus.     James 1:2-5  Be positive about life’s trials knowing He is transforming us into someone who is more and more like Jesus.     Jeremiah 29:11 God has plans for our lives and they are good.

I will leave you with 2 more from Philippians today.  Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  God’s plan of action:  don’t worry, pray, thank Him  =  peace, protection for heart and mind.    Add to these thoughts Philippians 4:19 “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”  God promises that His resources are greater than any need we will have in 2018.  What a glorious hope and provision we have in Jesus!

God's PlanCling to these verses as you walk forward this year.  Claim their truths.  What God promises,  He delivers.  God is ever faithful.

Looking forward with Hope in Jesus,

Linda

 

Positivity and Purposeful Thinking

James 1:2-5 is one of my favorite passages because it is filled with hope.  James wants us to realize that the things we face in our lives build and shape our character.  Facing the trials of life with hope and faith creates steadfastness within us making us more and more like Jesus.

james 1James 1:2-5 ”  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.   If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

How is this of any help as we begin a New Year?  It helps us look at life’s events with positivity so that we are looking for the change in our own character brought about by exercising our faith  in Jesus.  God promises that placing our faith in Him will hone and sharpen us to where it will seem we are lacking nothing.  He adds in verse 5 that if we find we are lacking wisdom, we only need to ask God and He will give us wisdom.

my-plan-gods-plan-his-plan-s-to-strengthen-10157505
This drawing shows us why God’s seemingly difficult way has greater purpose than ours!

Are you facing a difficult trial right now?  Consider it an opportunity for growth in faith and trust in Almighty God.  Cling to Jeremiah 29:11 “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.”   God is good and has good things planned for you now and throughout eternity.  We don’t know the future but we know for sure who holds our future.  Commit to trusting Him today and you will see and feel the character of Jesus within you.  Adopt an attitude of gratitude even in suffering because you know for sure that God has good things planned for you, He is good and He is in the process of making you more and more like Jesus!

keep-calm-jeremiah-29-11-god-has-a-planRejoicing in suffering takes purposeful thinking and faith,

Linda

When God says,”I will”, He means it!

This ancient promise was given to Isaiah, the prophet, to encourage the Israelites because they were facing deportation to Babylon for their sinfulness.  God knew they would return renewed and strengthen after that time of disciplining.

“Fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

What encouragement do we get from this promise as we venture into a New Year?  God promises that His presence with us will dispel our fears that may come from circumstances, people or things.  God tells us not to be dismayed.  I looked this up and being dismayed means having a break down in one’s courage by sudden danger, disheartened thoroughly, disillusioned, alarmed or bothered.  That covers a lot of different circumstances that God does not want us to fear in this New Year.  Fear does not come from God and He does not want us suffering because of it.  God promises to strengthen and help us each day.  He further commits to upholding us with His righteous right hand.  In scripture this refers to Jesus who is now seated at the ‘right hand of the Father.’ (Acts 2:33)  What a blessed promise to us that Jesus will be right there each day of this year upholding us.

Isaiah 41 10As you begin this New Year, why not write this verse out and have it where you can see it each day?  Let the truth of God’s promised provision sink into your heart.  When God says, “I will”, He means it because God is truth (1 John 5:6) and does not lie. (Hebrews 6:18)  What God says you can count on today and all the days this year.  He won’t change His mind as God is immutable, unchanging. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 

Walking each day of this New Year with God’s assurance,

Linda

Do you have a ‘What again attitude’?

God desires that we be persistent in our walk with Him.  It is the day by day living and walking in communion with Him that causes us to grow more like Jesus each day.  Sometimes fighting and doing causes us to lose heart and become discouraged.  70 times  in the Bible God said, “Do Not Fear” or “Do Not be discouraged.”  Fear and discouragement do not come from God but from Satan.  Our enemy, Satan, desires that we not grow and that we turn away from God.

Galatians-6-9Here is a promise to encourage you in your daily walk with Jesus.  Galatians 6:9-10 from The Message translation:  9-10 “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”   God knows we will get tired but He encourages us that all the pain and struggle will be worth it.  There will be something- a good crop, brought about by our labors for Him.  He encourages us to keep on working and holding onto the fact that He will produce good from our labors.  God encourages us to work for the good of all but especially for those closest to us- other believers.

gal 6 10So be encouraged today to keep on keeping on with doing good.  God knows our struggles and desires that we have a persistent attitude towards life and serving others.  Today live each moment looking for who God wants you to bless by being the very presence of God to them.  Reflect Jesus and do good for Him with a renewed attitude.

Renewing my attitude for good this third day of 2018.

Linda

A Promise a day?

What is your strategy for facing this New Year?  How about starting this first week with a promise a day to get you going?  Today our verse is Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is in your midst,  a mighty one who will save;  he will rejoice over you with gladness;  he will quiet you by his love;  he will exult over you with loud singing. ”   I love this verse as tells us plainly-HE SAVES, He rejoices over me, He will calm me with His love and He will sing over me!

Zephaniah317_singingWhat wonderful promises to encourage and keep us going when things get hard!   Have you ever thought about God rejoicing and singing over you?  What have you done for Him that He would be rejoicing about?  God specifically tells us to proclaim the gospel, good news, about Jesus so others can know His love and redemption.  He calls us to serve and love others in His name-having the motivating factor in that love coming from God.  In John 14:23 “Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”  Obedience also causes the Lord to rejoice. 

 Zephaniah317_1920x1080_1What about calming you with His love?  Has that ever happened to you?  I like to think of this as calming my spirit as I struggle with a difficult situation, bringing peace in the midst of chaos, bringing hope when I’m discouraged.  The Holy Spirit can touch us personally as He dwells within or He may send someone else with a word of encouragement or a kind deed.  God promises in this verse that Jesus is with us and that He will save us.  Jesus came to save- let Him save you.  Accepting His love and redemption into our lives is a one time event but then He continues to live within us and save us to a greater extent with each day.  The fancy word for this is sanctification, the growing and developing in Christ.  Let Him work within you each day and mold and shape you into who He wants you to be.

Be encouraged this 2nd day of 2018, God SAVES, He will comfort you with His love and will rejoice over you with singing.

Linda