Thankfulness Day 21: Faith A Gift for you

What is your response when someone gives you a gift? Usually people say Thank you. Have you said Thank you to Jesus for the most precious of gift He and the Father have given you? Faith Hebrews 11:1 describes faith this way, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is knowing God exists and has the world now and in the future in His hands. It is the knowing in our heart, mind and soul that God is who He says He is and that He exists now and forever.

Here are some scriptures about faith to meditate on. Let them create in you greater thankfulness. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” Know that God desires all to come to Him in faith and He is waiting for those who still do not believe, or have faith in Him, to come. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

How did you come to faith in Jesus? How do you know for sure that He died for your sins, rose from the dead and now has His Holy Spirit indwelling you? Here is the truth, plain and simple, faith is a gift from God. We can’t make ourselves believe, work or learn to believe, nor can we ask someone else to give us their faith. Each person comes to Faith by answering God’s call upon their life by accepting His gift of faith. He gives it to us. For this we should be eternally thankful. The gift of faith is special and shows God’s love and favor towards us.

Thank God for your gift of faith. It is so easy to take it for granted or wrongly assume it is because of something I have done for God. No, it is a gift pure and simple. Let God know how much you love and appreciate His gift of faith.

Linda

Thankfulness Day 17: Resurrection Promise

On Day 16, we looked at 7 amazing reasons for faith. Today’s verse looks more specifically at #7- salvation that leads to eternal life in Him. John 11:25-26 is a familiar precious promise from God “Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.26 Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”” Jesus spoke these words to Martha, the sister of Lazarus who had just died and was recently buried. She was upset that Jesus had not made it Bethany before Lazarus died, for she knew he could have saved him from dying. Jesus’ message to Martha, and you an me, is that belief in Him guarantees resurrection to new life. Belief in Jesus brings a life one can live in Him now and for eternity. His words were meant to encourage, bring hope and challenge Martha’s faith.

His question to Martha, do you believe me?, is the same question He asks each of us. If your answer is YES, then the thought of eternal life with Jesus, living forever with Him should bring you eternal joy. No one likes to think about leaving their life and dying, but Jesus is reassuring each of us that He has it covered. He will be with us, protect and guide us into our next stage of life with Him. If your answer was NO, then may His words bring you to Him today with a repentant and open heart.

May your heart rejoice over this promise. You can be thankful that God is eternal. God is greater than anything you will ever face- even death. God desires that you live without fear of death and know He has a plan for your life. Rejoice in the hope of resurrection and let that joy fill your heart with thanksgiving.

Linda

Jesus is personal, Let Him hear your declaration of Faith today!

Several of the post-resurrection appearances were to specific individuals instead of groups.  I previously wrote about Jesus’ encounter with Mary,  but today I want to look at Jesus’ appearances to Peter and James.  The appearance to Peter is mentioned in Peter appearancepassing in Luke 24:34 “saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”  and in 1 Corinthians 15:5 by Paul “and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve”.   The Luke message was delivered to the disciples by the two men who Jesus met on the Road to Emmaus.  Here the men referred to Peter as Simon using his former name.   Jesus also referred to Peter by his former name when He told him he would deny Him three time before the rooster crowed. The prediction of the denial is recorded in both Matthew 26 and Mark 14.  The actual denial event is recorded in all 4 gospels, Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22 and John 18.   Peter was not acting with his new believing nature, clinging to the rock of faith which is Jesus, but with the old, impetuous, doubting nature of unbelieving Simon. This personal appearance to Peter shows great compassion from our Lord to singularly appear to Peter to forgive and restore him.  Jesus would have known the anguish and guilt Peter was feeling after his denial of Jesus the night before the Crucifixion.  The forgiven Peter went onward, never doubting nor denying his Lord and Savior again.  Later, Jesus met a group of disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and spoke more with Peter and his future work in the kingdom.  See John 21.   Jesus personally knows what we need and seeks to be there for each one of us.   What a wonderful, compassionate and loving Savior we serve.

The other post-resurrection appearance that was mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 was to James.  Scholars believe this was James, the half-brother of Jesus, and not one of James-the-brother-of-Jesusthe other followers named James.  His brother did not believe in Christ before the resurrection, but afterward became a prominent member of the church in Jerusalem, wrote the book of James and died a martyr’s death in 62 A.D.  “Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”  1 Corinthians 15:7.   This appearance speaks to me of Jesus’ compassion and love for his earthly family and for those who are lost.  2 Peter 3:9  “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.   He knew James needed to see Him personally to be confronted with his unbelief.  Jesus does that for each one of us as we seek to come to faith and trust in Him.  He is a personal God that loves and cares for each of us.

Jesus personal GodIs Jesus personal to you today?  Do you claim Him as your God and Savior?  David did in 2 Samuel 22:3 “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation,”  Mary did in Luke 1:47 “and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”   and Thomas did in John 20:28 “ Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”    Let Him hear your words of declaration today as you thank Him for being your God and Savior.

Linda

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

Beloved,adopted and free in Christ!

Do you think God’s plan for redemption was sudden or made up on the spur of the moment when Adam sinned?   God in his omnipotent wisdom knew we were frail creatures and when we sinned there needed to be a plan to bring us back into communion with Him.  Ephesians  1:4-6, from the Message translation makes this passage easy to understand, “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”

Can you imagine that God had us in mind, wanted us to be in His family and to show His love to us even before He created the universe?  I love that Paul says, God took pleasure in planning this.  How much He loves us!  Paul continues in verses 7-10 to explain God’s wonderful plan to redeem us and make us free.  Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely Ephesians-1-7_webfree, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.”

These verses are so encouraging.  God loves us past, present and future.  God wants us to be free and His plan is fulfilled for us in Christ.  Faith in Jesus is the key.

May you be encouraged by God’s love, the redemption plan made perfect in Christ and the hope you now have in Him.   Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, we have all of this through faith in Him.  Thank you Jesus.

Linda

#6 Practicing Your Devotion to God-by Repentance

Sin is something we all have to deal with in our lives.  We were born sinners, with a sin nature.  You only need to look at the willfulness of a small child to see they came that  sin separatesway with a rebellious, willful nature built inside.  It was not something they learned.  However, as we grow we learn to sin even more by fulfilling our own desires.  Adam and Eve fulfilled their own desires in the garden of Eden when they willfully sinned against God by eating of the forbidden tree, the tree of good and evil.

Each of us needs to come to the realization that we are sinners and approach God with a sin bridge Jesusrepentant heart asking Him to forgive us through faith in Jesus Christ.   Our faith in Jesus allows us to be cleansed and made whole.  However, we still have that sin nature within us and we need to grow and learn about Jesus, depend upon Him and stay repentant to walk with Him by faith.  Our heart’s desire is to walk with Jesus and grow more and more like him.  Sanctification describes this process in our lives and it is the work of the Holy Spirit within us that enables us to grow stronger in Christ and sin less.

David knew the key to a clean and whole existence with God was to be repentant and humble, confessing his sins to God.  Psalm 32 describes David’s thoughts about this:

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,            Repentance brings blessing.
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away                  Being unrepentant can cause
    through my groaning all day long.                                              you physical illness.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,                                               David resolves to repent with
    and I did not cover my iniquity;                                                 an openness to God.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Psalm 51:1-2, 10    David knew that God alone was able to forgive sin and lays his sins before Him.   He knew he was unworthy of forgiveness but trusted God in his infinite mercy to forgive him.

psalm 51 1Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

He knew God alone could create a new heart within him.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.

What about you?  Do you know the truth and reality of 1 John 1:9 ?  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   This is a promise we can claim and depend upon.   God is faithful and will keep His promise to forgive all our sins.  All we need to do is confess and have a repentant heart before Him.

Practice repentance daily for a closer walk with Jesus.

Linda

Looking forward with Hope, backward with Thanks 2020 here we come!

2020 new year I always love December 31 because it means I am on the brink of a new beginning.  Those failures I’ve experienced during the year can end,  and I can start fresh and new.  Hope springs eternally in our hearts as we walk in faith and trust with our Lord and Savior Jesus.   In Psalms 42 and 43 David questions himself repeatedly with these words:     Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation.         

David wonders, and so do I, why I fret over failures, defeats, troubling circumstances, etc?  His answer,  and mine, is in trusting God alone.  His hope, and mine, is in God and the salvation He provides for eternity.  So as I end this year, I will reflect on what I achieved for Him, what God did in and through me, and look forward to the New Year with Hope.  I will look backward with thanksgiving in my heart as God has been 100% faithful in all things just as He promised.

Isaiah encourages us in 49:29-31 that the Lord knows the way, will provide and lead us isaiah-40-31 (1)in His way of hope.

He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

put-hope-1-627x376Will you join me in focusing on Hope and what God will bring your way in 2020?  Not only is it a New Year, it is also the beginning of a new decade.  Resolve to move Onward and upward with Christ alone!

Linda

God’s Revelations Through Advent=God’s Abounding Attributes

Advent of 2019 has been very confirming and uplifting to me.  As I wrote about the Christmas story, Messiah’s long awaited arrival on earth, I was filled with wonder and praise for our Almighty God.  Seeing the story anew through the lens of who-is-godGod’s attributes gave me a glimpse into the magnificence and depth of our God.   I saw God’s accessibility, grace, omniscience, as a person, His incomprehensibility, invisibility, holiness, as a preserver, merciful, a promise-keeper, righteous, sovereign, perfect, omnipotent, provider, merciful again, glorious, Savior, faithful, just, wise, Father, guide, love and eternal.

For 25 days we have looked into the character of God and reflected on how His character could impact us.  God desires that we are accessible to Him and to others.  He gives us grace and asks that we show grace to others.  God alone is omniscient, incomprehensible, invisible, personal, preserver of all things, righteous, sovereign, perfect, omnipotent, glorious, Savior, promise keeper and the giver of eternal life.  He calls us to be holy as He is holy and to wear the righteousness of Christ though faith in Him.  Be merciful towards others and lend them helping hands.  God wants us to be faithful to Him and to those around us, just in our dealings with others, a giver of wise council, good father’s and mothers, guide others towards Him and to be open to His leading.  He wants us to keep our word and follow His Word.  God desires that we love Him and love those He has placed in our life as much as we love ourselves.

David reached the following conclusion about God in Psalm 86:10-13.

psalm 86 10No pagan god is like you, O Lord.
    None can do what you do!
All the nations you made
    will come and bow before you, Lord;
    they will praise your holy name.
10 For you are great and perform wonderful deeds.
    You alone are God.

more like JesusThank you for joining me this Advent.  May you be blessed as you endeavor to live for Jesus and grow more and more life Him each day.

Linda

Wise men still seek Him

Today’s portion of the Christmas Story is one filled with wonder as we consider our All Wise God.  Herod was an evil, jealous king who would do anything to protect his kingship.

wise menNow after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,  saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way.  Matthew 2:1-9

Herod did not know of Jesus’ birth.  Since the Magi had traveled from the east starting when they saw the Bethlehem Star in the sky when Jesus was born,  their arrival could have been 1-2 years after Jesus’ birth.  It would have taken considerable time to come from the east, perhaps Persia.  It would have been customary to come to the current king to inquire of this new baby king-where he was. They probably thought Herod, the current king, would surely know where this baby was, however, He did not.   So they continued their journey….. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with gold-frankincense-and-myrrhMary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.  The gifts they brought were fitting for a king:  gold, incense and myrrh.    The myrrh was presented to Jesus at this birth and was also given to him at the crucifixion as it was a pain reliever.  Jesus refused to dull his pain by taking any (Mark 15:23).   Then the disciples used a mixture of spices and myrrh to prepare His body for burial (John 19:39).  The wise men had followed the star for hundreds of miles, knew that God was directing them towards the new king and undoubtedly realized the greed and jealousy that Herod possessed.  Herod had listened to them but had not been eager to come with them even the short distance to Bethlehem.  He let them do the finding so then he could take care of this new rival king.   So…when God warned, they listened and acted.  12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

wise GodGod is wiseHe is not simply all-knowing.  He uses his knowledge to do exactly what is right.  God’s Word is full of His wisdom.  Both His plan of redemption which sent Jesus and His creation are perfectly wise.  All wisdom comes form God.  Job 12:13 ““To God belong wisdom and power;  counsel and understanding are his.”   These traveling Magi or wise men came seeking the Savior.  God in His wisdom led them to come at just the right time and to the exact place He had chosen.  God protected both the men and Jesus’ family from evil Herod who He knew would seek to kill the babe.  The wise men were truly wise as they listened to God.

What about you?  Do you seek to know God and be filled with His wisdom that is in His Word?  Do you have listening hears to hear God’s wisdom when He gives it to you in prayer or through His Word?   Through faith in Jesus we can know God and understand the wise God we serve.  Ephesians 1:7-8  In him(Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished ephesians 1 8on us. With all wisdom and understanding,    Knowing Jesus opens up the wisdom of God to believers so  we can read His Word with understanding, seek to know Him better and live a life filled with godly wisdom.  Thank you Jesus.

Linda

Seeing the Savior is life changing, just ask the shepherds

shepherd mangerLuke 2:15-20  “When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The shepherds had a glorious encounter with angels that prompted them to go and seek the child born in Bethlehem.  Their second encounter that day was seeing their Lord and Savior in the flesh, the one that had come to earth to save mankind.  Luke 2:11 was the glorious message they had received, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  People were amazed when they heard their message and Mary treasured what they said and stored it away in her heart.   They all had personally encountered the Savior, Jesus.

jesus saviorGod showed the world their Savior and proclaimed his work on earth even at this humble beginning.  God reached down and rescued sinners from the penalty of death and hell that our sin deserves.  We cannot save ourselves from sin because we are dead in our sin.  God had a plan from eternity past to save His children fully from sin- from the penalty, power and presence of sin.  He sent His Son to live the perfect life we cannot live and die in our place for our sin.  Savior Jesus took all the punishment for our sin and saves us completely.  Romans 5:8 reminds us of God’s motivation for sending His Son and our true condition, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  I love the explanation of why and how God did what He did in Titus 3:4-7 “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Through faith we reap the benefits of His love, eternal life, His righteousness in our lives, the indwelling Holy Spirit, His grace, mercy, hope and become heirs with Christ.   We know and serve an amazing Savior.  Thank you Jesus.

What do you do with the message of Jesus the Messiah, Savior who is the Christ? Are you excited, awed and motivated to tell everyone of your Savior?  As you go through your day, think about the message the shepherds received.  Ask yourself, what am I jesus reason for the seasondoing about the Savior who is Christ the Lord?  Am I telling others of His wonderful love, salvation, hope and eternal life?  If not, why not?  Christ is the reason for this season as His is the message of Hope for all mankind.  Spread the word!

Linda