No need to worry- We are SECURE in Him!

Ephesians 1:13-14 holds wonderful truths for us to cling to that give us assurance of the hope and faith we have in Christ.  “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

The truths of this passages are many.  I now have His Holy Spirit living within me through faith in Jesus affirming, testifying and guaranteeing my inheritance in Him.  These truths are confirmed other places in scripture as well.

romans 816Indwelling Holy Spirit testifying and affirming:  Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”   Romans 5:5 “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”  1 Thessalonians 4:8 “Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.”   We can be assured that His Spirit is real and lives within us.

Holy Spirit guaranteeing:  2 Corinthians 5:5  “Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing 2 corinthians 5 5what is to come.”  Hebrews 6:17 “Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.”   God gives us His word that His indwelling Holy Spirit guarantees our belonging to Him and our future with Him -heirs of His promises.

1 peter 1 4A tangible inheritance in Jesus1 Peter 1:4 “and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,”   Colossians 3:24 “since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”  Our inheritance is kept safe in heaven, a reward waiting for us for living a life of faith that brings glory to Jesus.

As you review these precious truths today.  Which ones resonate with your spirit and give you peace?  Claim God’s promises today!   He has an inheritance for us, He gives us His Holy Spirit when we believe in Jesus and His Holy Spirit affirms and testify with our spirits so we can be assured of His love, a future with Him and His saving grace.  Praise God for His wonderful provision for us.  He knows we,  as finite beings,  need assurances  and He graciously gives us all we need.  Thank you Lord Jesus.

Linda 

Assurance and Purpose come from the Risen Jesus – Do you feel it?

Jesus was actively reassuring his followers on Resurrection Sunday.   He appeared to the two men on the Road to Emmaus,  to the women in the garden and Mary,  to Peter and to a gathering of disciples in a closed room.   John records this appearance in John 20:19-22.  I like the Amplified translation as it makes Peacewhat happened clearer. 19 So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side.”  The fact that Jesus appeared to them without opening the door tells us He was a spirit.   Yet, he showed them His hands and side that had been pierced at the cross which tells us He was physically real.  Only Jesus could be both in His resurrection body.  He begins with the common Hebrew greeting- ‘Peace to you’.  This shows Jesus’ love and sensitivity as perhaps they would have expected a harsh word from Jesus for abandoning Him after His arrest.  They received peace and warmth from their Savior not rebuke or criticism.  When the john 20 19disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Their response to Jesus was pure joy!  Then He sent greetings of peace to them and gave them orders to tell others.   He was sending them with power from His Holy Spirit to go and be His representatives, telling others of His death, resurrection, salvation and forgiveness of sins.  Jesus breathed on them power that would sustain them until the coming of the Holy Spirit 50 days later at Pentecost.

romans 10 17What is your response to the risen Savior?  I’m sure the disciples had various reactions like joy that He was alive, curiosity about His wounds, questions about their purpose in life now that He is no longer teaching them day to day?  Jesus answered their questions, shared in their joy and gave them purpose.  It is the same purpose Jesus has for us- tell others the good news of the gospel.  He desires that everyone hear how He saves us from eternal punishment for our sins and forgives us.  Paul reminds us in Romans 10:17   “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”  Jesus sent them, and us too, into the world tell otherswhere we live to tell others the good news of Christ.  We have to speak out and speak up for Jesus.

Who will you joyfully tell today?

Linda

Who is after your mind? Be protected- use your helmet!

Ephesians 6:17 is part of a sentence that began yesterday in 6:16 that has an important element for 6:17 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”   Each piece of armor that Paul is instructing believers to put on are to be used at all times in all circumstances.  He knew the devil is always ready to attack.  Peter knew it also as he wrote in 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”   Being ready means putting on our armor as we endeavor to walk with Jesus daily.  

Verse 17 mentions 2 pieces of armor but I’m only going to focus on one today, the helmet ephesians 6 17 helmetof salvation.  Why did Paul associate salvation with the helmet in our armor?  Salvation is not just redemption but is our protection plan for eternity.  Ephesians 1:13 told us “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,”  We are sealed for eternity and nothing or not one can take our salvation away from us!  This is a blessed assurance or promise from God and God always keeps His promises!

A helmet is essential because it protects your head and your mind.  Satan is after our minds.  He want to turn us away from godly thinking, confuse, disrupt or distort our thinking.  The brain controls the body so protecting our mind is vital for survival.  2 Corinthians 10:5 reminds us that we need to hold every thought captive to Christ.  “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”   Opinions, false doctrines and 2 corinthians 5 3arguments against the faith can be overcome with all thoughts captivated by Christ and His truths.  Having a firmly placed and active helmet helps us keep our shield of faith in place and solidifies who we are in Christ.  We need to think like kingdom citizens.  Protecting our minds from attacks of stray thoughts, doubts, letting fear creep in and control us or letting desires over come what we know is right are all things we are vulnerable to without a good helmet.  Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have assurance of salvation for all eternity and be mentally protected from attacks by Satan.

Here are a few verses about how God protects our minds in Christ:

Isaiah 26:3  “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,because he trusts in you”.    Peace of mind is yours in Christ.

Romans 8:6 “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”   Life is yours in Christ.

Colossians 3:2  “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”.  Heavenly thinking is yours to possess.

1 Peter 1:13 “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ”  Complete preparation for spiritual battles is ours through Christ.

As you go through today, think about your gift of salvation through faith in Christ. Praise and thank God for this precious gift and how it protects and defends your mind and thinking.  Your salvation is sure and true and you hold it for all eternity.  Thank you Jesus.

Linda

Holy Week -Wednesday.   Plots are hatched against Jesus as Judas is lured by officials to betray Christ.  Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:3-6.   As He looked towards the cross and betrayal which was to come on Thursday evening and Friday, Jesus likely took this day to rest and be with those He cherished on earth.

 

Experiencing His Power within

As Paul wrote that he was praying for the Ephesian believers, he eloquently told them he was praying for the eyes of their hearts to be flooded with light.  He wanted them to know God, know His power and believe that they possess a portion of that same power Ephesians 1-18in their lives.  Ephesians 1:18-20 “I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.  19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.”   

Ask yourself,  do I feel flooded with His light in my life?  Am I confident and assured in my faith?  Do I feel like I belong to Him?   Paul says we can be sure of His love and power in our lives as it is the same power that raised Christ from the dead!  His indwelling Holy Spirit is that power in our lives.  The same power that created the universe and defeated death lives within us.  When we truly grasp this truth, there is nothing that can shake or defeat us.  In Matthew 19:26  But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

god-in-me-2-sensory-fontToday ask God to show you His power within as you step out in faith to engage in your day.  May you have a new sense of confidence and awareness of His Holy Spirit within you.

Linda

#9 Practicing Devotion to God- by relying upon His Grace

 What is Grace? It is defined as God’s unmerited favor towards us.   We did nothing and can do nothing to deserve His favor.  It is something that God gives us freely by faith in Jesus from the depth of His love for us.  Scripture teaches us that God’s grace is always sufficient and because God is omnipotent He will never run out of grace.  2Corinthians 12-92 Corinthians 12:9  is one of my go to verses for power, strength and assurance about God’s grace.  Paul recalls the words of Christ to him,  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”    God graciously gives us what we need in our weakness and brings glory to Himself by showing His power in our lives.   I cling to the sufficiency of His grace.

Ephesians 2:8-10  “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”   We are saved by grace_alone_770x280His grace, certainly not by anything we have done or will do.  We cannot be good enough, clean enough or pure enough on our own. Salvation is a gracious gift of God given to us through our faith in Jesus.  He saves us by grace and graciously uses us to do  His good works.  He could do everything himself,  but He graciously allows us to participate for our good and His glory.

Hebrews 4:16 adds one other dimension to His grace towards us.   Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”   Because of our faith in Jesus, our high priest, and His work on the cross, we have access to God and can approach Him in prayer.  When we do, we are assured that we will find grace and mercy in our times of need.  There is never a time that God is not with me and I can always know that He will meet my needs with grace and mercy.  What a blessed hope!

GodsGraceMay you grow to trust in His grace, lean into and depend upon His grace and let His grace give you Hope as you draw near to Him with a heart of love and devotion.

Linda

I pray you have been blessed as  much as I have by going through these 9 practical ways to show our loyalty and devotion to God.  We can practice devotion to God by:  recalling His attributes, remembering His good works towards us, relating to Him in prayer, reading and meditating on His Word, resting in our identity in Christ,  repenting regularly, responding to the world biblically, remembering our Savior and relying upon His grace.  May you remember to incorporate these into your life on a daily basis and receive His blessings!

Christmas with Eternity in Focus!

Merry-Christmas

Today we celebrate the birth of the Christ.  His birth was foretold by the ancient prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born…”   The place was foretold in Micah 5:3  “But you Bethlehem…”.    He came to earth that day born as a human child, yet one who would lead a sinless life and die to save us from our sins.  We believe that only God’s Son, Jesus, could satisfy Holy God and bring us back into relationship with God.  Isaiah foretold in Isaiah 53:5 “But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him.”   So where does that leave us?  If we believe He was born miraculously as a man who was both fully human and fully God, and He was able to die to save us from our sins, what more is there for us to believe?   return-of-christHe is coming again1 Thessalonians 4:16-18  “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words.” 

As we celebrate Jesus’ birth, we need to remember the story does not end in the manger or at the cross.  The story of the redemption of mankind will end with us living with God for eternity.  Just as His first coming was heralded by angels so will His second coming.  Just as His first coming was miraculous, awesome and breathtaking so will His second coming be worthy of King Jesus when we meet Him in the air.

God eternalWhat do these events say about God?  God is eternalGod exists outside of time.  He is not measured by anything.  We measure time by the movement of the planets and stars, which God created.  God has always been and always will be.  No one is like Him.  We are not eternal because we have a beginning and an end.  Because God is eternal, He can give us eternal life.  David described God in Psalm 90:2 “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, form everlasting to everlasting you are God.”  John wrote in Revelation 4:8 “Holy, holy, holy is he Lord God Almighty, who was, and is and is to come.”

With our finite minds, the eternality of God is difficult to grasp.  However, we can be assured that God is who He says He is and will do as He has planned for eternity. Jesus is the one who holds the key to our eternal life. john-4-14 John 4:13-14  Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”   Come to Him this Christmas and be filled with His eternal blessing.  Look  past the manger, past the cross and look forward to His return!

Linda   

 

 

Mary and Me too, God knows our NAMES!

Gabriel next appeared to Mary,  the young virgin betrothed to Joseph, and told her she was going to be the mother of the Son of God.  Mary was fearful and concerned about what this would mean for her future.  The angel calmed her fears and pointed her to God.  Luke 1:26-33

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

There is so much to see about God in this portion of the Christmas Story.  God is all powerful and can do all things, Omnipotent.  God has a plan for the redemption of mankind and has had it since the beginning of time and He is using a young girl to move god-is-personal (1)His plan forward, Sovereign, Eternal.  But today, I see a personal God.  The angel told Mary not to fear and called her by name.  God knew her personally.  She was not just some girl but one God had specifically chosen for the task of being the mother of Jesus, His Son.  God is a person who knows us, desires a relationship with us and communicates with us.  Here He spoke to Mary by name through the angel Gabriel, but He also speaks to us today through His Word and in prayer.

knows my nameJesus assured us in John 10:3-4 “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”   Jesus as our good shepherd knows each one who believes in Him by name.  We are also assured that as believers we can and will recognize Him when He speaks or calls to us.  

Mary as a young girl knew this too and trusted her future to God.  God knows you personally; He knows your name.   Call out to Him today with assurance that He will answer because He knows you and knows exactly what you need even before you ask.  Be greatly encouraged, the God of the universe knows you by name.

Linda

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!

 

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

Assurance of Eternal Joy in Jesus

Handel used this next portion in Psalms 16 to remind us that our long awaited Savior would conquer death.   David penned the words of this psalm as a prayerful plea to God for His protection, guidance and victory over death in the many battles and struggles he faced.  How much more these words applied to our Savior during His life!  Both Peter and Paul quote these verses in speaking of Jesus as he faced death and died, but that the grave could not keep Him and He rose from the dead.

Psalm 16 8Psalm 16:9-11  Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
    my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
    nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
    you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

God did not abandon Jesus after death as He rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.  Peter preached these words about Christ in Acts 2:26-33 as he spoke to the crowds at Pentecost.  Paul  preached with these words in Acts 13:35-37  at the synagogue in Antioch.  These words exude confidence that Jesus would not see decay bring us hope.  He would not rot in the grave and return to dust but conquer death through the power of God.  Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the Romans 8 11dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of  his Spirit who lives in you.”  Praise God we have that spirit living within us!  Belief in Jesus brings freedom from the curse of death.  2 Corinthians 4:14 “because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.”   Do you have that hope?   Praise Him if you do and seek Him if you do not.

The psalmist also wrote that this risen one would then be seated in heaven at God’s right hand.   Ephesians 1:19b-21 tells us of Jesus’ place in heavenThat power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,21 far above all rule and authority, power and ephesians 1 20dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”   Colossians 3:1 also gives this truth “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

The Psalmist’s words foretelling Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and placement in heaven are confirmed throughout the New Testament. What joy and hope they should bring to us!  Through the power of God, believers do not see death, eternal punishment and separation from God, but rise to live with Him in eternity.  We will see Him seated on His heavenly throne at God’s right hand.   What a glorious day that will be!

Praise God today for coming and making all this possible through our faith in Him.  Thank you Jesus.  You came to seek and to save those who are lost.  We can be assured today you will find us and save us for all eternity.

Linda